Sulphur Bluff PTO plans Oct. 17 Halloween Carnival fundraiser

Family Night, Pancakes with Santa on tap later in semester

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram

Sept. 28, 2008 - Sulphur Bluff PTO, like most patent-teacher organizations, works annually to help provide those extras for the students and staff which the district has not been able to fund.

For the 2008-2009 school year, Sulphur Bluff PTO hopes to raise enough funding to purchase a laminating machine, more up-to-date playground equipment for all grade school ages, and they'd love to help the school fund some kind of walking path or track so that students won't have to access the nearby county road to do running activities, which can prove dangerous.

Last year's fundraisers provided money to help out in the classroom, AR parties, T-shirts for field trips, and coupled with funding donated by a local bank to get new signs for two ball fields. They also utilized some of the funding to give $500 and $250 scholarships.

The parents and teachers have already increased the number of annual undertakings, to at least 4 big events.

The PTO has already been busy this year, hosting a fish fry fundraiser a few weeks ago. SBPTO also this year also is making money by recycling printer ink cartridges, collecting Campbell's soup labels, Coca-Cola coke tops and the UPC symbols off canned Coke boxes. Old ink cartridges can be delivered to the school or sent along with students to be turned in.

Planning is currently under way for what is traditionally PTO's biggest fundraiser, the annual Halloween Carnival. Instead of having it just before Halloween, the date will once again be held a bit earlier this year so as not to conflict with other events.

"We had to move it up last year, and it will be earlier again this year. A few other schools and places in the area have Halloween, and fall and harvest carnivals and festivals so we moved it up so that people with kids or involved in those can visit ours too. And, people here with family there can go to those if they want," explained Sulphur Bluff PTO president Mandy Sharp.

Tickets for the raffle for the Oct. 17 carnival went on sale this weekend for $1 each and can be bought the night of the carnival. As a special incentive, free tickets will be given to students who sell a certain amount of tickets for the raffle donated by Lowe's. The company has committed to donating either a freezer or refrigerator to PTO to be raffled. In the past, a stocked freezer was raffled. This year, the PTO hopes to be able to procure gift certificates so the winner can stock it with items of choice. They are also hoping to be able to officer a prepaid VISA card.

The PTO Halloween Carnival will also include plenty of tasty fall foods to be purchased at the school as well as lots of fun games. The carnival will open with the stew at 5:30 p.m. Other food items to be enjoyed will include Frito pie and desserts.

The game booths will open at 6 p.m. by booths. Games usually take 1-4 tickets depending on the type and prizes. There will be multiple game booths and fun things for kids to enjoy including the traditional Halloween haunted house and bounce house, and lots of other displays and activities prepared by the various classes and groups at the school. Tickets can be purchased for 50-cents each.

Last year, the big hits were the bounce house and a train ride which pulled children with a trailer around barrels, Sharp noted.

Students are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes to have their pictures take at the carnival and to participate in a costume contest.

Funds from the Oct. 17 Halloween Carnival will be split between the PTO and teachers to help with their individual classroom needs, according to Sharp.

They are hoping to offer a Family Night in November with a game system available, free pizza donated by Pizza Inn and possibly other area restaurants. The idea is to present students and their parents with a fun interactive event an opportunity to have fun with their families. Donations are already being collected for that activity.

In December, PTO will help host the Christmas concert and a Pancake Breakfast with Santa. The concert is generally held Thursday prior to the Saturday morning breakfast. The PTO helps with scenes for the Christmas Concert. Breakfast with Santa will offer all-you-can eat of pancakes for a small fee, probably $3. While there, children can have their pictures made with their family by the Christmas scene as well as with Santa.

They'd also like to be able to sponsor a Reading Night in early spring, likely January or February. They'd get older students or community guests to read to the smaller children, and would like to get special people in for the older students as well. If possible, the Reading Night would correspond with a Book Fair, to get kids fired up for reading and provide an opportunity to procure new material to enjoy.

Of course, ideally, PTO would also be able to host other events during the springs semester as well. Right now, members are focusing on the fall semester and will meet later in the school year to talk about the spring semester.

Donations and business sponsors to help with all of these events, and ideas to improve upon existing events or for other activities are always welcome.

For more information about these PTO projects, to make donations or help sponsor them, or offer other ideas, contact Sharp at 903-335-0481 or send her an e-mail at mandy@thesharpranch.com.

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