Students Score Prizes and Fun on Bingo Night


By Ben Card
            On Thursday, October 22, the Unite mentor program hosted a bingo night and ice cream social in the cafeteria of Hopkinton High School. The entire freshman class was invited to participate in the hour and a half of games and treats.
            The Unite mentors began bingo at 7:00 under the supervision of a few administrative staff members. The cafeteria proved to be an ideal location for the event; the freshmen and a number of Unite mentors, playing alongside one another, sat at lunch tables while a team of seven Unite mentors called numbers through a megaphone and distributed the enormous array of prizes available to the luckiest of the bingo players. Gift cards to Target, iTunes, and Dunkin’ Donuts, some ‘Hiller Pride—I Decide’ tee-shirts, and a vast collection of candy constituted the rewards handed out to those who won each game. Near the end of the bingo session, a few of the Unite mentors even took to writing the called numbers on a whiteboard because the bingo players’ cheers started to overpower the megaphone.
            As the announcers called out randomly chosen bingo numbers to the crowd, there was always an exclamation; whether of victory, if the number was on the player’s board, or of frustration, in the event that the number was not. As the game continued, these two converse emotions were magnified as some players neared triumph. While one may assume that an exclamation of “Bingo!” would have been a sign of conquest, entire tables stood and yelled when one of their rank scored five squares in a row. The bingo officials would then request that the proposed winner repeat his or her numbers, and more than a few times the would-be victor was mistaken in his or her conquest. If the numbers had in fact been called, then the prize was awarded, there was an uproar of applause—or groaning—, and the boards were, if deemed necessary, reset. “It was a wonderful experience,” says Karissa Collins, winner of a five-dollar Dunkin’ Donuts gift card.
            After an hour of frenetic bingo had passed, the final prizes were awarded. The ice cream was brought out and the serving staff of Unite mentors took their seats behind the counters. Rarely is such an outstanding selection of ice cream available; among the traditional flavors of vanilla and chocolate were unusual varieties such as chocolate marshmallow, orange cream swirl, and, perhaps the oddest choice, party cake. A total of nine types of ice cream were served and a surplus of toppings—caramel sauce, peanut butter, sprinkles, whipped cream—was offered in addition.
            The event seemed to have occurred flawlessly. The attendance was high, the crowd was organized, the game was pleasant, and the ice cream was delightful, making the event a success among both the freshmen and the upperclassmen that comprise Unite. The chatter and laughter of all the participants easily reflected this success. “The freshmen really enjoyed it,” summarized Lila Gilbreath, a Unite mentor and overseer of the evening proceedings. “I’m looking forward to the next event.”