BY RACHEL SUPNICK
Parents in the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) were invited to the annualPTSA Volunteer Breakfast in the Wave on Sept. 25. At the breakfast and general meeting, parents were able to sign up to become members of the Bay’s PTSA and register to be school volunteers.
PTSA President Latoya Stucke said the event was held to pass the annual PTSA budget in order to plan financially for the upcoming year. She said it was also important to introduce new parents to the PTSA.
“For the first general meeting, we [invited] all parents because a lot of them have never been to a meeting and they don’t know the process,” Stucke said. “This [meeting] is a way to kill two birds with one stone.”
Volunteers wore name tags and were encouraged to socialize while eating the breakfast provided at the event. Additional information about the PTSA’s plans for the upcoming school year was shared at the meeting. School Volunteer Liaison Conchita Rodriguez said more parents came to the function than ever before.
“I’ve been [at the Bay] since 2002 when the school opened and this is the largest group that we’ve had. It’s awesome,” Rodriguez said. “I hope to see all of [the parents] come back in the future.”
At the event, Rodriguez assisted the parents in filling out their online applications to become Broward County Public School volunteers. Computers were available for parents to use during this process.
“It’s basically a background check that you do to get cleared for level one or level two [of volunteering],” Rodriguez said. “Level one is everything except being alone with a student or chaperoning an overnight trip. Level two [requires] fingerprinting, and involves teachers picking from a pool of parents to chaperone an overnight field trip, or [allowing a parent] to mentor a student one on one.”
Stucke informed parents about the teacher appreciation project they are holding in October called Mid-Month Pickup, in which teachers are given free pastries and snacks. She also reintroduced the second annual diaper drive which will be held in February to help homeless mothers and children in need.
“We will be asking parents to drop off pastries because not all parents can volunteer their time,” Stucke said. “I figured this is a way for them to participate without being here every day.”
Stucke said the PTSA will have many new volunteer opportunities available this year. Parents are now allowed to make copies and answer phone calls in the Wave and help teachers in the classroom.
“It’s not just about proctoring [tests] anymore,” Stucke said. “Parents can now come in and help out in a classroom, almost like when I would help out at elementary school.”
Administrators and PTSA board members were invited to attend the breakfast, and some even spoke at the event, including Rodriguez, Assistant Principal Kassandra Fried and Principal Scott Neely. Stucke also stood to thank the parents for attending the event. Stucke said she was emotional during her speech and was grateful for all of the active parents that want to be involved in the PTSA.
“As president, I am always blown away by the parents,” Stucke said in her speech. “Often we hear [that in high school] the parents don’t show up, but here in this room, you have proved them wrong.”
Parent Marina Sage, who moved to Weston with her son a few months ago, said she came to the meeting to learn more about the PTSA and see how she could get involved at the Bay and in her new community.
“I was a drama teacher in New Mexico before moving here, and I had to give that up when we moved, so I thought it would be nice to volunteer and help out at the school,” Sage said. “I would love to help out backstage for some of the productions.”
Sage also said she would like to volunteer at the activities in which her sixteen-year-old son, a junior, chooses to participate.
“We’re new to the area, but once my son [settles in] I’d like to help with whatever he decides to get involved in,” Sage said.
Mother Bertha Navarro has four children that attended the Bay, and she said she has been helping at the school for ten years through proctoring exams and assisting staff. She said she came to the breakfast to be updated on any new volunteer opportunities.
“I love being involved. I love the children and I love every activity the school has to offer,” Navarro said. “My favorite thing to do is help the staff, but that may change this year.”
Stucke said she has high hopes for the PTSA calendar this year and hopes for students to become more actively involved, too.
“We’re not just moms in yoga pants,” Stucke said. “We are here helping the teachers, so they’re not as stressed out. I want the students to know that last year we raised $8,500 and we took all of that money and gave it back to the students. The $10 to join [the PTSA] goes very far.”