Shriners, Green Bay police team up to hand out circus tickets
February 15, 2007
By Malavika Jagannathan
Clowning around on Wednesday afternoon in Maria Waerzeggers' second-grade class at Howe Elementary School didn't result in a trip to the principal's office.
Instead, the students attempted to guess how to do the tricks that Jimbo the clown — also known as Shawano resident Jim Herman — performed for them.
"The bottom must be a magnet!" offered 8-year-old Kaliq Strickland as Herman revealed a feather-laden flower out of a seemingly ordinary and empty shell.
At the end of the performance, the students were rewarded with free tickets to the Beja Shrine Circus in early March. Each year the Shriners present the Green Bay Police Department with about 1,000 free tickets that officers circulate among schools and the community.
Herman, who has been a clown with the Shriners for about 15 years, said it was the first time the group has gone into a school.
"Just to educate the kids a bit about what's out there is important," Herman said. "I mean, they were pretty blown away by what little I do."
For almost a decade, the Shriners have donated tickets to the police department for the circus, which is presented by the George Carden International Circus.
The event is a vehicle to raise money for the organization, and also an opportunity to allow children in the community without the means to attend, explained Shrine member and former potentate Dennis Korth.
"Any of you guys want to go to the circus?" said Capt. Bill Galvin of the Green Bay Police Department. All the hands in the classroom shot up.
"This will be a real bridge for (officers) to build relationships with children and families in their areas," Galvin said
For many students in the class, attending the circus will be an activity they might not otherwise be able to enjoy, Waerzeggers said. "A lot of these kids aren't comfortable in social situations," she said. "This is going to help them tremendously."
Kaliq, who picked up eight kids tickets and two adult tickets for his family, said he enjoyed seeing magic tricks and was excited to see more of what he saw in class on Wednesday. "It's going to be fun," Kaliq said.