Manchester PTA Holds First 2011-12 Membership Meeting
First of four general membership meetings held Oct. 17 at Ridgeway Elementary
The Parent-Teacher Association of Manchester Township welcomed a strong showing of visitors to their first general membership meeting of the 2011-12 school year this past Monday night in the media center at Ridgeway Elementary School.
Co-Presidents Cara McAllister and Christine Grille introduced the meeting and the new executive board of the organization. Association members spoke about past and upcoming programs, the 2011-12 organization budget and renewed the by-laws.
McAllister also gave an update on several recent fundraisers, including one at Bubbakoo’s Burritos, which netted the PTA 15 percent on everything sold at the restaurant on Oct. 7 – for a total of $323 gained by the organization.
“Our Regional Day School Book Fair was held during their Back to School night on Oct. 4,” McAllister said. Though the Manchester district only sends eight students to the Jackson-based school as part of a sending-receiving relationship, the co-president explained that sponsoring events and having a presence there was beneficial to both the school and the district as a whole.
In addition, some upcoming events which were mentioned by McAllister were the “Trip Down Memory Lane” gift auction, to be held on Mar. 29, 2012, at the Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood. Per the name, the event will have a retro look and feel, hearkening back to the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.
“We know it will be better than last year’s event,” McAllister said.
“The theme is 'Book Fair and Beyond,' an outer space theme," McAllister said. "It will coincide with parent-teacher conferences, so the parents will be able to see what their children are reading."
The group also had praise for two recent events that came to Manchester’s elementary schools Sky Dome (an inflatable planetarium set up to instruct children on constellations and astronomy), and an author visit from Lisa Funari Willever. Willever, a former schoolteacher turned award-winning author who is based in New Jersey, visited the town’s elementary schools with recent assemblies.
PTA member and Legislative Chairperson Sheryl Claus encouraged attendance at PTA general membership meetings, as well as meeting of both the board of education and township council, so residents can ask questions and make their voices heard in the community.
In a brief address, Superintendent of Schools David Trethaway thanked the PTA for their fundraising for and support of Manchester schools.
Membership Chairperson Tracy Racioppi similarly encouraged new members to join the PTA, and current members to get the word out about joining.
“Membership forms can be found on the table (at the front of the media center), it’s only $5 to join,” Racioppi said.
Racioppi also provided a breakdown of PTA membership with regards to school representation – 83 members came from Ridgeway Elementary School, 79 from Manchester Township Elementary School, 105 from Manchester Township Middle School, 42 from Manchester Township High School and 16 from Whiting Elementary School, in addition to 15 PTA executives.
In other meeting news, a gallery talk was given to the audience by Joanne Halloran, Teen Service Librarian at Manchester’s branch of the Ocean County Library, who discussed upcoming programs at the branch. Among others, these programs included the opportunity for children to read to therapy dogs in order to hone their literacy skills, teenagers having the chance to develop a performance for a glee club (based on the FOX television show “Glee”), and opportunities for teenagers to work at the library in order to earn volunteer service hours.
“They can come to the library and help make displays, or do anything that would fulfill their service hours,” Halloran said.
Halloran also said that she is present in the library on Wednesday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to assist teenage students with their homework.
Treasurer Trish Conti also outlined a report of the PTA’s finances on a worksheet, showing the organization with a balance amount of $15,322.98 in its account.
The PTA’s by-laws for 2011-12 were renewed – copies of those by-laws may be obtained by contacting Claus through email.
The other three PTA general membership meetings for this school year are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9, 2012, April 2, 2012 and May 7, 2012, the locations of which will be rotated among the other schools in Manchester Township.
Several members of the community serve as Vice-Presidents of the PTA, representing each school in Manchester.
Tammy Wernoch acts in this capacity for Manchester Township High School, Dana Himpele and Tricia Lengyel from Manchester Township Middle School, Chrissy Weiner and Lori Sohl from Manchester Township Elementary School, Kathy Mango and Karri Kurth from Ridgeway Elementary School and Robert McCourtney from Whiting Elementary School. Also introduced were Patricia “Trish” Conti as Treasurer and Dawn Hoffman as Recording Secretary.