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2nd Grade is headed to the "Big Top"


MEYERSDALE - Meyersdale Area Elementary students will once again be traveling to visit the “big top” on October 15, 2021.


After a year hiatus, due to the pandemic, second grade students will have the opportunity to see the 81st Annual Jaffa Circus at the Jaffa Shrine Arena in Altoona.


This annual trip is made possible through the generous donation of tickets by local Shriners,  represented by Ed Gnagey and Ron Kimble.


Each year, second-grade students are provided with tickets to the circus, along with a free coloring/program book, popcorn and a drink during their visit to the circus. 


Gnagey said Meyersdale Area Elementary School is one of the longest-attending schools in the region and said the local Shriners have been offering tickets to local second-graders for more than 60 years. 


The Altoona Shrine Club was formed on October 23, 1902. Supporting Jaffa Shrine are 17 marching units, 16 shrine clubs, the Altoona Valley or the Ancient Order Scottish Rites, and many Masonic Lodges throughout the 16 county jurisdictions.

The charity, known as Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children, was started by the fraternity in 1922. Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries,and cleft lip and palate, regardless of the families’ ability to pay. Generally, care is provided until age 18, although, in some cases, it may be extended to age 21. It operates 19 orthopedic and three burn hospitals. The temples conduct hundreds of fund-raisers every year, including circuses. For more information, please visit

“We are grateful to our local shriners who have provided this experience to 2nd graders for decades,”  Jennifer Sines, second grade teacher. 

The Meyersdale Area School District is very appreciative of the continued support of the Shriners and their willingness to share their philanthropy with our students!


Shriners donating tickets for 2nd grade to go to the circus