By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Happiness returns at Family Fun Day
Peyton Radcliffe
South Effingham Interact Club member Peyton Radcliffe belts an upbeat tune at a karaoke and dance station during Family Fun Day at the Clarence E, Morgan Complex on Friday. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Calling Peyton Radcliffe an extrovert is sort of like calling Chewbacca slightly hairy. The description doesn’t come close to doing her justice.

Radcliffe is an extremely gregarious, uninhibited person who was perfect for her job at the Clarence E. Morgan Complex on Friday. She and two of her friends from the Interact Club at South Effingham High School helped children enjoy themselves at a karaoke/dance station during Family Fun Day, an event conducted by the Effingham County School District’s Department of Exceptional Students.

“When you come out here, you can’t just be shy,” Radcliffe said. “You have to interact with others because our job is to help the kids have fun. If you want to have the time of your life and are sociable, you should come out here and volunteer.”

Compared to Radcliffe, fellow senior Skylar Groover is a wallflower. She enjoys working with the special-education students just as much, however.

“I love dancing and singing with them,” Groover said.

Emilie Guzman rests between Radcliffe and Groover on the sociable scale, and is their equal in her love for Family Fun Day.

“The difference is that Peyton will talk to anyone,” Guzman joked.

Each girl was effective at getting the students to sing and bust their best moves near home plate at one the parks softball fields. 

“This is something new at Family Fun Day,” Radcliffe said. “It's kind of break time between the sports events that they do. It gives them time to relax.”

The participants greeted the station with enthusiasm.

“They were rapping and everything,” Groover said.

The trio missed out on Family Fun Day last year. It was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was very, very upset about that,” Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe, Groover and Guzman are credited with service hours for their participation.

“But that’s not the reason why we are here,” Radcliffe said. “If we didn’t like it, we wouldn’t have come back,” Radcliffe said. 

And what’s not to like?

“These kids are happy and smiling all day,” Radcliffe said. “It’s a feeling that you don’t experience anywhere else.”

“They get so excited about the littlest things and it makes them happy,” Guzman added. “They thrive in the interactions with us.”