Schools appreciate generosity

Published 12:31 pm Friday, February 17, 2012

By Jeff Roland
Banfield Elementary Principal

In my second year as principal of Banfield Elementary School and not being from Austin, I have come to realize a few things about my new surroundings. Besides the obvious, that Banfield and Austin Public Schools is a great place to work, recently I have been viewing my work surroundings from a community level and have been equally impressed with what I have seen.

When you are involved with an elementary school, any elementary school, there comes a time of the year when you reach outside the classrooms for support. This usually comes in the form of fundraisers and community projects students, staff and parents become involved with. With these projects comes an “expected level” of involvement from the community. Austin is no different in this regard. What separates Austin from other communities I have been associated with is the level of involvement we as a school receive from the community. It has been and continues to be outstanding.

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Our Parent/Teacher Committee contributes thousands of dollars annually to our school; mainly through the efforts, time and energy of our parents. Our parents have also been extremely generous with the varying civic events the school is involved in. Our Holiday Food Drive raised more than 3,300 items of food. Currently, our Pennies for Patients fundraiser will meet its dollar goal. And although the same could be said for other projects in other schools in other districts, the generosity hasn’t stopped with staff, students and parents.

As I was standing in the hallway at dismissal, a grandfather came into the building to pick up his granddaughter. He asked me what the “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser was about. I told him of our Student Council initiative to raise money for leukemia patients in Mower County. The grandfather dug into his pocket and handed me all the change he had and told me to put it in the bucket. When he saw what he had given, he took out his wallet and gave me a ten dollar bill because “the change wasn’t enough.”

Our PTC was asked to support the need of having warm clothing for kids who seem to come to school on a regular basis without winter items. The next day, a neighbor of the school brought over a bag full of new winter clothing because she had heard from a friend that we had this need. She told me that although she doesn’t have kids at Banfield now, her children did attend in the past and she was extremely happy with the experience they received. The clothing was her way to help out the school.

These are just a couple examples of the support we receive regularly. Take it from me; this level of generosity doesn’t happen everywhere. I feel honored to be a part of a school, a district and a community that goes out of its way to support their own. Sometimes, one of the greatest lessons one can learn in school takes place outside of the classroom. The lesson learned by simply being aware of others and giving.

And what a great lesson for all of our students to be a part of.