Dave Rice, the Roseville Community Schools assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, shows off the gift bags that were given to the district’s parent volunteers while at a special school board meeting June 3.

Dave Rice, the Roseville Community Schools assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum, shows off the gift bags that were given to the district’s parent volunteers while at a special school board meeting June 3.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Roseville school board thanks its parent volunteers

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 22, 2021


ROSEVILLE — Roseville Community Schools’ Board of Education took some time at its special meeting June 3 to thank the district’s many parent volunteers for the efforts they’ve put forward in the last year.

Each parent volunteer was sent a gift bag with several items inside, including gift certificates, letters from the administration and a portable lamp.

Sally Bommarito, the administrative assistant to Assistant Superintendent Dave Rice, headed up the efforts to ensure that the district gave its parent volunteers some sign of appreciation and thanks.

“Normally, we do it during Volunteer Week during April.” she said. “We wanted to recognize them in a different way. We always try to give them a gift along a theme. Our parent volunteers devote a lot of their own time to help our students and schools with fundraising and events. They deserve to be recognized. They do it without pay, so we want to do something to thank them.”

The district said it wanted to make sure it showed its appreciation to the volunteers this year since the last several months have included so many extra challenges due to COVID-19 safety guidelines. The lanterns given out in the gift bags were emblematic of the extra leadership roles parents had to play.

“It’s been a difficult year and a half. The parents went above and beyond, making sure the students had what they needed,” Bommarito remarked. “I thought the little lanterns were cool, and it shows that they lit the way for the school during the whole pandemic.”

Casey Patterson, who has two children, one at Kment Elementary and one at Roseville High School, was among the volunteers honored.

“This year, at Kment, I am the treasurer on the PTO, so I handle the finances there. I help organize events. We are organizing projects for the kindergarten class and are trying to have an ice cream truck come to the school since they can’t do their annual trip to the Dairy Queen. I am also treasurer over at the middle school. We’re working with the principal on how to organize future activities. I also am treasurer for the band at the high school and organizing band activities there.”

She expressed her gratitude toward the district for taking the time to recognize the hard work of parents.

“It’s humbling. They do it every year, and as a parent volunteer, I feel very fortunate to be able to give my time, and it’s nice that they go out of their way to recognize us,” she said. “In my experience, Roseville from the administration down to the teacher is very welcoming to parents. They’re really appreciative of parental involvement, so if any parents are interested in volunteering, I suggest they get in touch with the administrators of their children’s school.”

Denise Brun, who has a seventh grader at Eastland Middle School and an 11th grader at the high school, is another parent volunteer.

“I’ve been volunteering at both schools this year,” she said. “At the middle school, I am part of the PTO, and I am on the parent focus group at the high school, so I provide input on school improvements. I also volunteer on the girls softball team to help with fundraising or whatever else they need.”

She also expressed her gratitude.

“I absolutely appreciate it,” Brun remarked. “Especially right now, we’re still isolated. So it’s nice to see that even though they can’t do what they usually do, they can still post on social media about us and deliver a gift bag to us. Even though we’ve been meeting remotely and meeting in the background, they are still showing their appreciation.”

Brun said there have been numerous challenges for parents in the last year, and that can take a toll on those who usually volunteer.

“I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I didn’t feel as valuable or as great a value to the district this year, not because of what the district did, but because the state mandates and so forth limited us in what we could do,” she said. “We couldn’t do some of the normal fundraisers or host a dance for the kids at the middle school. It felt disappointing that we couldn’t help more.”

“It’s especially meaningful this year since we couldn’t go in the buildings pretty much the last year and a half. The hardest part is not being able to be there in person most of the time,” added Patterson. “We had a lot of Zoom meetings, so that’s how we talked about most of our projects and programs. We’re kind of used to it now. We just had our first in-person meeting in more than a year for the high school band, so it’s nice to be able to come back and see everyone again.”

District officials said that they had been afraid the extra challenges might scare away some of their usual volunteers. Bommarito said they showed up and put in the work anyway.

“They weren’t allowed to access the schools as much,” said Bommarito. “Our band boosters still worked with the students as much as they could and helped with band camp. They transported equipment, donated water and so forth. At the elementary schools, they ran programs outside that were COVID-safe. They recognized the teachers for Teacher Week. Some of the volunteers are involved in the superintendent’s discussion group. They give input. They also might serve on committees we have in the district. We had a COVID Planning Committee, which was particularly important during the last year and a half.”

Brun is thankful for the expression of gratitude and said that it shows what kind of school district Roseville is.

“This is a district that does appreciate and embrace its volunteers,” Brun said. “I hear from parents with kids in other districts, and they don’t feel as appreciated or involved, but I think Roseville truly embraces its community.”