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PTA volunteers to be recognized during Founder’s Day celebration

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 10, 2016

ROCHESTER — Many people go above and beyond in the service of the Rochester Community Schools district, and the Rochester Parent Teacher Association Council wants to give credit where credit is due.

The council is hosting its annual Founder’s Day celebration Feb. 25 to recognize more than 70 parent volunteers, educators and students for their dedication and contributions to the district.

Musson Elementary School PTA member Jen Patrician said that each year, three individuals are selected from each school in the district to be recognized during the event. The PTA Council will also recognize a number of people who will be honored with special awards for their unique accomplishments and dedicated service.

“It’s a big pat on the back and a thank-you for all of their hard work,” Patrician said.

Brooklands Elementary School teachers Pam Ruehle, Jaclyn Facca, Michelle Ingraham and Principal Teresa Simonetti will receive the Bright Idea Award for the school’s new Bears Den program.

“I was completely stunned (to hear about the award) because I didn’t even know we had been nominated,” Ruehle said.

Ruehle explained that she and Ingraham brought the idea back to the school after visiting a neighboring school in Troy last year. The Bears Den, she said, is a new initiative designed to embrace the idea of multiage groups through once-a-month meetings to strengthen the bond of school community and deepen the understanding of character in students. On Bear Den Fridays, students in kindergarten through fifth grade travel to their “dens” to meet in multiage groups with their den leaders and participate in a number of activities to build character and a sense of unity.

“It amazes me how the older kids work with the younger kids. … It’s really incredible, just in the few months we have been doing it. Just having the sense of community within the student body community is amazing,” Ruehle said.

Other special award winners include PTA Council President Samantha Phillips, who will receive the John Schultz Leadership Award; PTA Council Health and Wellness Committee Chair Dennette Fend, who will be named Council Member of the Year; district parent and PTA member Barb Anness, who will receive the PTA Council Advocacy Award; and PTA members Jennifer Windeler, Amy DiCrese and Allan Schneck, who will be given Distinguished Service Awards.

The event, which runs 6-8 p.m. Feb. 25, will be held in the mall at Rochester High School. Doors open at 6 p.m. for refreshments and a basket raffle, which includes gift cards to downtown Rochester businesses, sports ticket packages, jewelry, local specialty gifts and more. The awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Guests will be treated to an address by keynote speaker Pat McKay, of the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, followed by awards. The evening’s festivities will include musical performances by students from Adams High School, Reuther Middle School and the Elementary District Choir.

Raffle tickets will be on sale at the event for $2 each, 12 for $20 or 40 for $40. This year will also include the raffle of four Disney admission tickets, which include park-hopper passes, for $10 per ticket. Founder’s Day celebration admission costs $5. Proceeds from ticket sales and the raffle will go directly toward PTA Council enrichments and the PTA Council scholarship fund.