Parkway’s Upper School Dean Eric D. VanHouten and Elementary School Principal Sarah Holmgren celebrate 50 years in education.

Parkway’s Upper School Dean Eric D. VanHouten and Elementary School Principal Sarah Holmgren celebrate 50 years in education.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Parkway festival returns this spring

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published April 20, 2024


STERLING HEIGHTS — After a multiyear hiatus, it’s finally time for a major springtime festival to come back to Parkway Christian School.

The school plans to host its Parkway International Family Fun Festival 4-8 p.m. May 3. According to the school’s community liaison, Kerry Jantz, the festival had been a yearly staple of Parkway’s school calendar – until the COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be canceled.

But administrators have decided the time has now come to bring back the event.

“Obviously, it was supposed to happen in 2020,” Jantz explained. “We didn’t do it in 2021. We didn’t do it in 2022.  With this year being our 50th year in education, our head of schools said, ‘Hey, I want to bring this back.’”

According to school officials, in 2006, Parkway emerged as the result of a merger between Bethesda Christian School and Zoe Christian Academy, and all their combined school years make up the 50 years in education.   

Jantz explained how the fun festival is a social event for the school community.

“One of the nice things about this event is it’s one of the first events where we have new students right now – we’re in enrollment mode. When we get a new student that enrolls in Parkway, a lot of times this is the first event they go to to meet other Parkway families,” Jantz explained. “So from that perspective, it’s always a good thing to happen.”

According to Kristen Grau, Parkway’s event coordinator, enrollment for students from 3-year-olds to grade 12 is around 550, and the school hopes to get around 600 students for this upcoming fall.

Grau said the fun festival will feature an international food court that will serve food from local restaurants, including Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings, LongHorn Steakhouse, Olga’s Kitchen, Freddy’s Bar & Grill, Isla Detroit, and Jersey Mike’s Subs.

School officials said the event will also feature plenty of amusements for kids to enjoy, including inflatable bounce houses and carnival activities.

“We’re going to have a bunch of games and competitions and arcade games for kids,” Jantz said.

Grau further elaborated on some of the activities in store for those who go.

“Both of our gyms will have activities,” she said. “We’ll also have games and balloons. We’ll have some presentations going on: a karate studio, dance studio, a reptarium with pet-the-animal type of things.”

Organizers will also hold a silent auction and sell tickets for a chance to win class gift baskets. Grau said that while festival admission is free, people can buy punch cards for food, wristbands for the activities and tickets for gift baskets.

Besides the fun festival, the school is also getting ready to start a capital campaign project so it can build an athletic complex on its campus, Jantz explained.

“We got some bids in 2020. We were ready to launch this, and COVID happened,” Jantz explained. “Our original estimate was a little over $6 million. A little over four years later, it’s $10 million, just because of inflation. We’re going to start a campaign (for) fundraising.”

Jantz said the school has football, soccer and baseball fields but wants improvements such as an eight-lane track, permanent lighting, permanent stands, a concessions area, a training room and a room to get medical care. Amenities such as these will make it better equipped to hold regional and divisional sports events, he explained.

Learn more about Parkway Christian School, 14500 Metropolitan Parkway, by visiting or by calling (586) 446-9900.