by Cheryl Senn
The Sanger Council Parent Teacher Association (PTA) hosted a Winter Roundtable Lunch in which 11 of the 13 Sanger schools, Sanger Unified School District (SUSD) administrators along with PTA, Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) and other parent booster club representatives attended. HOPE Sanger board members were the guests, with CEO Julie Mendoza, as the guest speaker.
According to Sanger Council PTA treasurer, Judy Sakamoto, the number of school officials and parents attending the luncheon almost doubled from the previous year.
The lunch is a traditional annual event, which takes place every fall or winter and usually has a guest speaker or entertainment as the highlight. The event also gives an opportunity for each school site principal and school administrators to share news of what is happening on their respective school sites and within the school district, as a whole. The Sanger Council PTA also hosts a springtime luncheon in which parent organizations can honor their principals.
The luncheon provided an opportunity for school leaders to donate non-perishable food items, which benefited HOPE Sanger, in return for tickets in a prize drawing.
Mendoza’s presentation included information on the organization’s history, along with current and future plans. Mendoza said, as of November 24, the organization has prepared more than 1,900 meals for the needy and homeless in the community of Sanger and has more than 800 volunteers, in the two years since it was organized. The group has hosted three park resource days and been present at the recent community health fair and National Night Out events.
Recently, HOPE Sanger provided backpacks and school clothing for SUSD students and provided 40 families with Thanksgiving meal boxes. This was also the first year HOPE Sanger has assisted with a blood drive and registered 82 donors. Mendoza said HOPE Sanger works collaboratively with the City of Sanger and SUSD.
School administrators took turns speaking about happenings on their respective campuses.
Dan Chacon, principal at Sanger High School, said,” I am proud of the kids and the leadership they are showing.” The students had recently organized a fundraising campaign to benefit HOPE Sanger and continue to support other non-profits in the community.
Some schools, like Jefferson Elementary, have implemented a mentoring program which has Jefferson alumni, who are now at Washington Academic MIddle School (WAMS), come back and volunteer their time, during late start days. Jefferson principal Cathy Padilla said, “They give back to the school they went to.”
Most schools had programs throughout the fall, like Coats for Kids, Toys for Tots and other fundraising events, like carnivals, take place.
WAMS principal Jamie Nino said her Community of Caring students had put together 40 boxes that were sent out to U.S. troops and the group was working on collecting hoodies for students and helping with animal adoptions.
The purposes of the Sanger Council PTA include to unify and strengthen its associations by counseling and encouragement; to develop and coordinate association and council projects and activities in the interest of children and youth, and to serve as a channel of communication between the district and the local associations.
Sanger Council PTA president Dori Preis said the Sanger Council PTA board wanted to expand its luncheon guests to include PTO and parent booster clubs, all in an attempt to benefit the students in the district. “We want to thank everyone for attending the lunch and for letting us know what is happening at your school,” said Preis.
After all the school site principals gave their campus news reports, SUSD Associate Superintendent Jon Yost said, “Sanger has the most awesome people. They are doing phenomenal work.”
“We want to make a difference in this community,” continued Yost. Yost said he was glad that all parent organizations came together for the lunch and to celebrate all the positives within the district. “It’s all about service.”
Mendoza said HOPE Sanger was thankful for the non-perishable donations that were made and was thankful for being invited as the guest speaker and the continued collaboration between Sanger schools and HOPE Sanger. “Thank you, thank you. The unity is here to stay.”
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