KP shines at PSEF’s 20th birthday


Hugh McMillan

At the 20th annual Peninsula Schools Education Foundation fundraising event Vaughn Elementary School teacher Matthew Mills holds guests in awe as he demonstrates a scientific procedure employing materials made possible by PSEF grant money. Photo by Hugh McMillan, KP News

The 20th annual Peninsula Schools Education Foundation fundraising breakfast at Canterwood Golf and Country Club in October added, for the first time ever, a luncheon. Both events were well attended by supporters of PSEF’s mission to enhance Peninsula School District teachers’resources to educate our kids.

Greeting guests at both events were KP members of the PSEF board Marcia Harris, Jud Morris, Brian McLean and Chuck West, together with board members Maria Lanier, Ed Worthen and Vaughn Neumeister, as well as Peninsula Schools Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto.

At the breakfast event,Vaughn Elementary School teacher Matthew Mills had guests in awe as he demonstrated scientific procedures with materials made available to his science and technology classes thanks to PSEF grants.

At the luncheon, Mills’ wife, Lisa, who is the music and arts teacher at Vaughn, explained how employing musical instruments and an advanced sound system purchased with PSEF grant money had highly enhanced her students’ self-confidence, sense of self-discipline and performing arts talents.

“We look forward to hearing from teachers every year to learn how they implemented foundation grants into their classrooms,”said Brian McLean, PSEF secretary. “Lisa's presentation highlighted the fact that the new sound system at Vaughn not only had an effect on her current group of music students, it will last for several years to come.”

West added, “It's great to see how the foundation impacts kids by providingitems that are beyond the school district’s ability directly to the classroom.”

The high point of both the breakfast and the luncheon was a captivating performance by a “1901 school marm, Miss Bennett” played by retired teacher Leanne O’Neill. “Miss Bennett” treated all guests as “scholars” who behaved at her insistence as children while singing “America” and other ditties and standing to engage in recitations.

“Miss Bennett” made clear that deviant behavior would not be tolerated. On hearing a ringing cell phone during the luncheon, she charged across the room and ordered the culprit to stand in the corner —which he obediently did while bringing the house down in gales of laughter. The culprit was former state Rep. Larry Seaquist, who thereafter good-naturedly behaved himself.

“’Miss Bennett’ was the best speaker PSEF has ever had for our benefit breakfast and now lunch,”said Morris, who is PSEF vice president. “Raising money to help teachers with their class projects and students interested in becoming teachers has raised PSEF to a new level in fundraising and opportunities to support our community’s students.”

Harris, PSEF president who served as master of ceremonies, said, “The presentations by ‘MissBennett’ and the Vaughn teachers exemplified the quote from William Butler Yeats: ‘Education is not about filling a pail but about lighting a fire.’ Thepresentations on Oct. 8are but a few examples of how PSEF is supporting all of our talented teachers in lighting those fires and helping those fires burn a little brighter. This was the best PSEF event ever!”

O’Neill said it was a great privilege for her to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Peninsula Schools Education Foundation.

“As a retired Peninsula School District educator and recipient of foundation grants, I have seen the dollars in action and know what important work the foundation does in our schools,”she said. “Here’s to the next 20 years!”

Want to help? Call Marcia Harris at 884-4697.