Remember your high school graduation?
Chances are that a lot of the good things you recall about that high point in your school life was because of the folks who worked behind the scenes to ensure there would be lots of those “moments to remember.”
Steilacoom High School’s Class of 2009 also will have lots of those magic moments, thanks parents who’ve watched with pride from the sidelines as their children progressed from kindergarten to high school.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, just three weeks before Diploma Day at Pacific Lutheran University’s Olson Auditorium, three of those behind-the-scenes parents: Penny Mueller, Denise Lowry (SHS Class of 1984) and Margaret Rebillion reviewed the last-minute things to be resolved before June 6.
Final plans for the post-graduation party was the topic of discussion.
“Jan (McCrimmon), school principal, and Darrin (Lowry), vice principal, have been very supportive,” said Mueller. “They’ve got enough to take care of with day-to-day operations, so this helps out.”
Meanwhile, the students can be assured that details for the–oops! Can’t reveal them!
But the party’s guaranteed to be enjoyable. In years to come, when it’s the grads’ turn to support their grads’ events—they’ll have lots of moments to remember.
The Class of 2009 Banner has already been designed and soon will be hung in the Commons. There’s also the commemorative brick destined to join 26 others on the wall outside the high school’s entry.
Throughout the year these Class Supporters, all of whom also are members of the Booster Club—have also been working on the Graduation events—raising funds through activities such as the recent BINGO night.
Ensuring that the grads have a “drug and alcohol-free event” is a big goal,” explains Mueller. Because the Northwest has some of the highest percentages of drug and alcohol-related deaths among high school grads, the women—and their fellow supporters—have focused on raising funds to pay for the event. To date, they’ve raised close to $23,000 for Senior year activities.
“About 96 students will be attending, along with ten chaperones (with two as reserves). It’s the highest amount of participants to date.”
The destination for the post-grad party is a “closely guarded secret,” added Mueller.
Mueller said that they budgeted about $175 per student for the party, and $2,000 went toward the yearbook project, paying for color reproduction throughout the book. At the time of this writing, with money remaining, they planned to “make suggestions” to the Class about possibilities for the traditional “Senior Class gift” to the school.
Besides the many fundraising activities support came from community organizations such as Kiwanis of Steilacoom, and dynamic volunteers such as Jaimie Garrett who coordinated the November auction.
The women estimate that they’d invested an additional 30 hours a week, in addition to their full-time jobs, on the project. They’re good at what they do, though, since they’ve been volunteering countless hours at concession stands, on field trips, etc. since their kids were in kindergarten.
Contractor John Korsmo, whose company handled the renovation/modernization of the high school, donated installation of two of the red handicapped access picnic tables, then donated and installed a third table.
“Part of last year’s fundraising helped purchase the two tables in front of the school,” said Mueller. “and will be given to SHS as the gift from the Class of 2008.”
There are other people who’ve worked behind the scenes, Muller continues, explaining how she became part of the effort.
She was in Orange County, CA last year, she recalls, when she was asked to “just attend a Booster club meeting to find out what’s going on.” She went—and that turned into more than just “attending a meeting”. By June 7, she’ll be finished with this work.
Rebillion and Lowry plan to continue helping for a “few more years.”
“It’s just fun,” said Lowry.
“Our kids are used to our presence and they don’t get embarrassed when we’re around,” said Mueller.
The lessons are clear for students, too, and they understand the benefits of community service.
“We’re looking for more people to help with fundraising during the junior and senior years,” she added.
Meanwhile, “we’re tired, giddy, and excited about what we’ve done. We want it to be the best time for our kids,” Lowry said.