Families Create Board Game to Celebrate Park Cities’ History
Highland Park is not the only Park Cities entity that’s marking a 100th birthday. SMU is in the midst of a five-year celebration that commemorates the centennial of its founding in 2011 as well as the anniversary of the university’s opening in 2015. And Highland Park ISD will mark its own centennial in 2014.
All of those back-to-back-to-back celebrations got Deanna Charles thinking. What if there was a fun way to tie together the history of multiple Park Cities institutions?
Hence, Parkcities-Opoly, a board game that Charles and her daughter, Natalie, dreamed up in conjunction with two mother-son teams: Susan and Ian Clarkson, and Santina and Steven Kornajcik.
“We embarked on this so we could make this an all-centennial celebration,” Charles said. “Families who grew up here can play it, because these businesses on the board have been here for generations. The roots of the Park Cities run so deep.”
The game includes questions a la Trivial Pursuit, but its primary inspiration is Monopoly. Where Monopoly says “Go to jail,” Parkcities-Opoly says, “Jump in Turtle Creek.” Instead of “Pass Go,” you “Enter the Bubble.” And Monopoly’s four railroads have been replaced by the four Highland Park ISD elementary schools.
The majority of the other squares on the board are occupied by businesses — including Sevy’s, Javier’s, and Park Cities People — that paid to be featured.
“It’s going to be fun, and I thought it was a good way of keeping our name out in the public venue for longer than a normal ad would run,” said Suzanne Roberts, who bought a square for Suzanne Roberts Gifts. “There’s a Monopoly on just about everything — I know there’s a Dallas one — and this just kind of seemed like a natural progression to have our own Park Cities Monopoly.”
The Parkcities-Opoly board was designed by Highland Park graduate Callie Clayton, who just enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design. Adding to the history angle, she’s a descendant of Marion Fooshee, the architect of Highland Park Village.
The organizers ordered only 1,000 copies of the game, which will be available in mid-October. Charles envisions Parkcities-Opoly as a great Christmas present, as well as an ideal graduation gift for members of the Highland Park High School Class of 2014, a.k.a. the centennial class.
But the primary goal of the game is not to make profits. The organizers, who got financial assistance from Legacy Texas Bank for their up-front costs, are allowing any Park Cities nonprofit to sell copies as a fundraiser.
“We’re giving this away first,” Charles said. “If we can just recover our costs and make a little bit of money, we’ll be happy.”
Charles tried to downplay her role in spearheading the project, calling it more of a group effort, but Clarkson and Kornajcik would have none of it, calling Parkcities-Opoly her brainchild.
“What I thought was great,” Kornajcik said, “was that Deanna took these kids and really worked with them on developing this whole concept, to not only learn about how to put together a project, but also to give back to the community.”
Sarah Bennett contributed to this report.