Source: Sherman Publications

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Parent's Perspective
Parent volunteers provide opportunities for kids

June 06, 2012

Imagine your favorite ice cream sundae. Personally, I like my sundae simple just vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. My sons, on the other hand, pile on whipped cream, sprinkles, gummy bears, crumbled cookies and maraschino cherries. They can't imagine a sundae that isn't loaded with all the gooey extras.

If our schools were ice cream sundaes, then our parent volunteers and organizations are the gooey extras our kids so love. I can't imagine our schools without PTA and the armies of parent volunteers who provide assistance in the classrooms, organize dozens of events and activities, and generously contribute thousands of dollars every year that gets re-invested on behalf of our students. PTA fills many needs for academic, social and physical enhancement of the learning environment in our schools.

There are many PTA accomplishments to celebrate as the 2011-12 school year comes to a close.

Almost 2,700 parents and teachers joined PTA this year at Bailey Lake, Pine Knob and Springfield Plains elementary schools, as well as the middle, junior and high schools.

More than $150,000 and thousands of volunteer hours were invested in our schools to support dozens of programs, events and activities, from field trips, school fairs, graduation activities and beautification projects to grants for creative teaching and technology.

We all know that volunteer organizations cannot run without volunteer leadership, and Clarkston is fortunate to have had such enthusiastic and capable parents provide that leadership this year.

Thank you to Ruth Dargay, Patti Hayes and Janice Hubl for serving on the PTA Council executive board, as well as to those who served as president of a PTA unit:

Aimee Baker, Springfield Plains Elementary;

Patti Hayes, Sashabaw Middle School;

Linda Mayernik, Pine Knob Elementary;

Cheryl McNeil, Clarkston Junior High School;

Caroline Miller, Bailey Lake Elementary; and

Darcie Moss, Clarkston High School.

Clarkston boasted seven state champions this year in the Reflections competition, PTA's signature nationwide art program that encourages students to pursue artistic expression depicting a theme through a variety of mediums. Congratulations to the seven Clarkston students who received statewide honors:

Josephine Auchterloinie, Clarkton Junior High, Dance Choreography;

Erin Billette, Clarkston High School, Visual Arts;

Matthew Dahl, Clarkston High School, Musical Composition;

Sadie Knill, Clarkston Junior High School, Dance Choreography;

Sara Loucks, Sashabaw Middle School, Dance Choreography;

Taylor Rohr, Springfield Plains Elementary, Literature; and

Cassandra Winkler, Sashabaw Middle School, Musical Composition.

Several invaluable faces of the "T" in PTA were honored this year through the PTA Council's annual Difference-Maker Awards. Our teachers and staff play a large part in our success in each of our PTA unit. They are PTA members; they volunteer at PTA events; and they attend PTA meetings. This year's recipients embody the PTA mission and truly make a difference in our schools:

Pam Blegm, Mark Delcamp and Nancy Myers, custodial staff, Springfield Plains Elementary;

Adam Kern, principal, Clarkston Junior High School;

Jody Sebring, art teacher, Pine Knob Elementary; and

Blagica Taseski, fourth-grade teacher, Bailey Lake Elementary

It has been my privilege to advocate for our students and families as PTA Council president. But leadership changes just as students move on to new schools and new challenges.

PTA, however, will remain a constant presence in our schools and community, ensuring every child is represented with one voice. Have a great summer!

Kelli Horst was president of Clarkston PTA Council and mother of two elementary-age boys.