PTO to hold Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast
By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
West Stafford - posted Wed., Feb. 6, 2013
If you love someone, the West Stafford School PTO encourages you to say it with pancakes.
On Saturday, Feb. 16, from 8 a.m. to noon, the West Stafford School PTO will be holding an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the West Stafford Fire Station, complete with sausage, coffee and tea, hot chocolate, juice, and some extra yummy pancake toppings as well.
The pancake breakfast is just one of many family activities that help the PTO raise money for West Stafford School and promote fun time for the whole family.
To say the West Stafford PTO is an active group would be an understatement. Jennifer Ignatowicz calls her role as PTO president her “full-time volunteer job” and is quick to share credit for the group’s successes with PTO Secretary Kelly Czepiel, Treasurer Jessica Figella, Christina Perez, other active PTO parents, and the many area businesses that donate their products and services.
“Over the years, the PTO has purchased several things for the school. We bought rugs and we replaced the seats on the swings, and we bought bins for gym equipment. Our big purchase last year was lighting for the flag out front,” said Ignatowicz. “We ask the school what they need, and then try to purchase at least one big item and several smaller things throughout the year,” she said.
The core group of four said it helps that they are all friends who work together well, often texting or calling each other throughout the day with new ideas, or to make sure something has been taken care of.
“[Czepiel] is our raffle queen,” said Perez.
“Were lucky to have an amazing crafter,” said Czepiel, referring to Perez’s skills at putting together their colorful advertising signs. “She’s our ‘silent contributor’ and most active parent by far.”
“There’s an awful lot of work that goes on behind the scenes and between meetings,” added Czepiel. She said the PTO often pays for or supplements the costs of field trips or other educational programs for the students, such as bringing in guests from Mystic Aquarium.
Figella said they try to pay for programs that tie into the school’s curriculum. For example, recently the PTO paid for a presentation by Pumpernickel Puppets, a Connecticut performer that provided an interactive and animated Shakespearean-type puppet play.
The PTO also participates in a number of regular activities, such as providing the bounce houses and food for the school’s annual Field Day event, a father-daughter dance, scheduled family fun nights at the school or at nearby venues like a bowling alley, running two Scholastic book fairs a year, as well as establishing a book award program for students who practice good citizenship. They also coordinate two staff luncheons a year, one before the holidays and another in the spring, and they make one-time special donations to help individual families in need.
It takes a lot of fundraising efforts to pay for all the different outings and activities for the school, but Ignatowicz and the PTO crew say they try to avoid doing just straight catalog fundraisers, preferring to come up with unique ways to involve the entire Stafford community. Such fundraisers, to name a few, have included a Bradway’s Sugar House maple syrup fundraiser, a holiday wreath fundraiser, a PTO family recipe book sale, and a Dining For a Cause fundraiser at the Vernon 99 Restaurant where a percentage of meals purchased were donated to the PTO. For a few years in a row, they also involved the entire town in a “Touch-a-Truck” fundraiser at Stafford Speedway, where children had the opportunity to touch and climb on huge trucks of every ilk, tractor trailers, ambulances, and even an Army helicopter.
“We might not have a big budget, but we always find a way to make things work,” said Czepiel.
For more information about the PTO, visit the West Stafford School website at
http://www.edline.net/pages/west_stafford_school, and click on the link to the PTO.