Letter to the editor: Fund raising not as portrayed
I am writing in response to Yvette Wood's May 12 letter (Letters to the editor, Sun Advocate) regarding the 2009 Mardi Gras fund raiser for Pinnacle Canyon Academy. As I have chaired/co-chaired five of the last six fund raisers I believe I am well qualified to respond to her letter and her statements about this year's events.
Each year as we prepare for the fund raiser our parents are well-informed about their responsibility in earning their child's trip to Washington, D.C. The requirements are the same for each parent: a minimum of 30 hours of volunteer time, selling $120 worth of dinner tickets, selling books of donation tickets for our big ticket item and getting at least $75 in silent auction donations. This system is fair because it requires the same amount of work from each parent.
For example, if a parent has two children planning to go, they are required to do twice the amount of work. In the past, if a parent came up short on hours or donations, they had to pay for the balance of the hours they were deficient. This year's fund raiser was no different from previous years with each of the 25 parents informed of their responsibilities.
As a note fifth grade actually had 42 children. However, 17 chose not to participate.
With an uncertain economy and as worries mounted about whether or not we could raise enough money for a D.C. trip, we decided three weeks prior to our event to radically change the format of our fund raiser in order to cut down on our expenses. At that point, we informed the 5th grade parents that the Washington, D.C. trip was essentially on hold and that, based on how much we would be able to raise, perhaps the fifth grade trip would have to be something more local and less expensive. Parents at that meeting were understanding and agreed to do the best they could and then to look at our situation once Mardi Gras was over.
Thrilled with the response to our new format and thanks to the wonderfully supportive communities where we live, we were able to raise just over $13,000. Parents were informed of how much was raised and then were provided with the information on what each family had done to help with Mardi Gras. It was easy to see which parents had gone above and beyond what was required of them with seven families putting in well over 50 hours of volunteer time and donating above what was required. The parents then voted about what to do with the money raised. It was decided that since the money raised could pay for 21 children to go, that's how many would be able to go. The other four families who hadn't fulfilled their obligations were initially told that they would have to pay for their child's trip. However, as this seemed punitive to the children, Mrs. Hardy, the students' families and a generous local businessman raised enough money to send the other four students. For whatever reason, Mrs. Wood refused this generous offer.
Mrs. Wood felt that the entire money should be split between all the students even when all the parents didn't do the work. How is this fair to the other families who sacrificed and did what they were supposed to do? What does that teach our children?
None of the fifth graders were told that they weren't "worthy enough" not to attend. Parents were told that they hadn't done the work to earn their child's trip. Our children need to understand that effort, determination and sacrifice have meaning in our lives. Three of my children have gone to Washington, D.C. in years past and I know personally how beneficial this trip can be, especially for those children who may not have the opportunity to do something like this again. Over the last six years, I put in hundreds and hundreds of hours, not just for my own children's sake but to earn enough to allow all the children to go.
I am not alone in this effort. Scores of other parents worked just as hard. I believe that as a school "we have treated others as we would like to be treated"âequally. That Mrs. Wood chose not to allow her child to go was her choice and not the school's fault, especially where the money was available for him to go.
Her letter is a mean-spirited, unfair representation of this year's event not doing justice to the efforts of the many who worked hard to make it successful.
Mrs. Wood asks whether the decisions made would "be a lifetime memory of how adults are supposed to treat children concerning a school function?" and continues that our future generations will "grow up thinking all is okay to vote others out to benefit themselves?" I would say that the actions of those who stepped up and came up with the additional money for the other four children proves otherwise.
I am grateful to those that helped make this years Mardi Gras a success and for our local businesses in Carbon and Emery counties whose consistent support and donations have benefited our communities' children. We couldn't have done it without them. I am privileged to live in a hard working and generous community where we focus on teaching our children to become caring and productive individuals.
The message from all of this is that as parents and as communities we need to teach our children to work hard, do their best, be generous and be responsible for our own actions and choices.
How tragic will it be if our children don't learn that lesson.