Jesus Montoya, 2, right, gets a popsicle from Castaic Union School District Superintendent Steve Doyle, left, and members of the district during a stop on the Castaic Welcome Wagon tour in Val Verde on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Popsicle pleasantries: Castaic Union drives Welcome Wagon around district

Bringing popsicles and happy attitudes to the various neighborhoods of their community, Castaic Union School District staff spent two days this week traveling around their district on the “Castaic Welcome Wagon.”

“It’s an opportunity to go up to the community to remind them that school is starting next week,” CUSD Superintendent Steve Doyle said, adding that about 140 kids and families came out to the events on Monday and Tuesday. “Also, it gives them something cold to wet their palettes, and we’re excited for them to come back.”

Children run for popscicles during the Castaic Welcome Wagon tour at Val Verde County Park in Val Verde on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Doyle said the idea was the brainchild of Janene Maxon, the district’s assistant superintendent of educational services, and was developed to include one of the district’s buses transporting school-site staff around to have a meet-and-greet with those kids and families who might have transportation issues.

“The day the (the kids) leave, all summer we plan for them coming back, and we really missed them,” said Maxon. “We just wanted to say, ‘Hey, we can’t wait for you to come back and we look forward to seeing you.’”

The “Welcome Wagon” tour visited neighborhoods from the Northlake Elementary families located up north to the Live Oak families located more to the west along Highway 126 — distributing popsicles to families and introducing them to their next year’s teachers (or providing them a chance to see their favorite teachers from the past) all along the way.

Julian Escobar, 8, starts his popsicle during the Castaic Welcome Wagon tour in Val Verde on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“We even drove up as far as Templin Highway, to those homes, because we didn’t want to leave anyone out,” said Maxon. “(The families) have been so appreciative, and going, ‘Wow, you took time out of your day to do this.’”

“It really does go back to us saying that we’re a family-orientated district,” she added.

The Higgins and Manglapus families had both brought their kids to come and get a popsicle and meet with the district staff.

Jenene Maxon, Castaic union School District Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services uses a megaphone to announce free popsicles to the children at Vale Verde Park during the Castaic Welcome Wagon tour in Val Verde on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“When we found out the bus was going to be here, we were like, ‘Let’s go get us some popsicles,’” said Amy Higgins, who had brought her daughter Raquel. “And of course, Raquel wanted to come see her principal.”

“It’s not just important for me, but for the kids,” added Melissa Manglapus, who had brought her son and Raquel’s friend, Peyton, to the Welcome Wagon event. “They get to see their principal, their old teacher they went to kindergarten with, and so it’s good for them.”

Both Raquel and Peyton, who are Live Oak Elementary school students, had popsicles in their hands and said they were now most excited about going to school and meeting their teachers again.

Castaic Union School District Superintendent Steve Doyle, left, lets Itsuki Trexel (6) and Akira Trexil pick out popsicles during a stop on the Castaic Welcome Wagon tour in Val Verde on Tuesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

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