The Hatchet House was full Thursday night but there was no basketball game.
Rather, a celebration of everything at Washington High School.
About 300 visited the high school during "Hatchet Highlight" night Thursday to see exhibits and demonstrations by all the classes and clubs that WHS offers.
Visitors were also treated to a free chili supper and performances by some of the schools clubs. This was the first year for the night and organizers were pleased with the large turnout.
"In a word, Awesome," Principal LeAnne Kelley said. "This is what I believed we all envisioned for people to come and enjoy a night of seeing the great things kids do." For many of the clubs at WHS, this was one of the few times they interact with the community and they did not disappoint. The engineering club brought out one of its robots and drove it around the Hatchet House floor.
Jay Neuhoff, Project Lead the Way instructor and Engineering Club sponsor, said the robot is a joint project between WHS and Pike Central High School.
The robot is for parades and they are working on attachments, like a t-shirt cannon.
"We're starting to create all this fun stuff that we can build on down the road," Neuhoff said.
For the 30-member ski club, Thursday was a great opportunity. Started two years ago, the club makes about six trips to Paoli Peaks during the winter.
Junior Kerstin Burks was buckled into a snowboard to draw visitors in, while fellow junior Joshua Kirsch made a video of some of their past trips.
"I like it," Kirsch said. "I think it is great for people to see different groups work and everything. I think people will see something they might like to try. I look around and see things that I might like to do." Myia Hart, president of the WHS FFA club, said Thursday was a great opportunity.
"There are a lot of things behind the scenes that people don't even know we have," Hart said.
The FFA club, Hart said, is 25 members strong this year and has been busy with district, state and national conventions, fundraisers and events.
"We do a lot to help the community," Hart said.
While clubs were a large feature, all of the curriculum programs took part Thursday. At the English exhibit, cereal boxes were made to look like books that students decorated. The art classes featured many exhibits, from photography to sculpture.
The life skills and resource classes sold many items they make in classes, including bracelets, lotions and candles. The resource students also danced.
"This is all student-made," Life Skills teacher Steve Kovaleski said. "They love being a part of the school and being able to see and produce stuff that students buy. It really makes people happy." The evening, as expected, drew parents and relatives of students. But there were others who came who were friends, or even coworkers of students at WHS that wanted to see what the students were doing.
"I think it's very interesting to see what the kids are up to," Lisa Welch said. "We have several friends with children in high school so we thought we would come over and see what was going on. I was really interested when I saw the posters a few weeks ago." Kelley said the turnout exceeded her own expectations.
"You just never know," Kelley said. "So when you get 300 people to enjoy what the students are doing and their potential and what is happening, that is a community celebration."