Random Acts of Fun Spark Joy Within Menlo Community


Erica Fenyo

Sophomore girls enjoy hot chocolate and donuts on the loop as a part of their Random Act of Fun. Staff photo: Erica Fenyo.

Erica Fenyo, Assistant Sports Editor

This week, parents surprised the sophomore and junior classes with various Random Acts of Fun events to give students time to relax and socialize before final exams. The activities are organized by parent volunteers a few times a year to give students a chance to bond as a class

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the junior class began the student life block with a brief class meeting where Upper School Director John Schafer gave a talk on stress and college applications. Then, juniors exited the Middle School Garage, surprised by guinea pigs, bunnies, chickens and goats on the Loop. Students got to hold the animals and take the chickens and goats for walks while enjoying goodie bags full of snacks provided by the parents. 

The non-profit organization Animal Assisted Happiness provided the interactive activity. According to Gina Wood, a volunteer with the organization, “[Animal Assisted Happiness’] mission is to bring smiles to over a million children.” The group provides animal visits through their farm in Sunnyvale or through their mobile, virtual and vocational programs. “The calming nature of animals brings joy [to] people,” Wood said.

Seniors Sammie Floyd (left) and Alina Hernandez (right) play holiday games during their Random Act of Fun. Staff photo: Erica Fenyo.

Animal Assisted Happiness has provided over 3,000 animal visits and received help from more than 6,000 volunteers, 63% of whom are under 18, since the organization was founded in 2009. 

Many juniors enjoyed the chance to play with the animals and take a break from academics. “It’s great to see all the animals around. It seems like everyone is having fun,” junior Keane Murphy said. “[This activity] seems like a pretty good Random Act of Fun.”

“I liked it because it was something different,” junior Jimena Amaro-Cordova said. “Having animals to pet after the talk Schafer gave us was really soothing.”

Next, during the lunch period on Friday, Dec. 10, sophomores gathered on the Loop for their Random Act of Fun event and enjoyed snacks and a “snowball” fight. The sophomores enjoyed donuts and hot chocolate. “I really like how the Random Acts of Fun help ease some of the stress out of everything going on,” sophomore Arjun Saluja said.

Some sophomores took over the outdoor stage and had an impromptu snowball fight while others talked in groups and enjoyed the treats before heading off to their third period of the day. 

On Tuesday, Dec.7, parents surprised the senior class with donuts, warm drinks, holiday hats and games during lunch for their Random Act of Fun event. The freshmen also got to enjoy churros for their event on the same day.

“My favorite part was the fun games because they were kind of childhood throwbacks that we don’t really play anymore now that we’re older,” senior Jhila Ferdows said. 

Junior Ryan Bratt takes a chicken for a walk during the juniors Random Act of Fun. Staff photo: Lexi Friesel

Ferdows also enjoys Random Acts of Fun events during this time of year because it is a time to come together and celebrate before the Holidays. “[I think that] Holidays bring people together because they’re focused on unity,” she said.