This is not the kind of post I thought I would ever need to write. In fact, I almost convinced myself not to. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might help to get it off my chest. So here goes.
The students at our school are pretty amazing little human beings. They know how important it is to help those less fortunate which is amazing in itself given 96.6% of our student body receives free or reduced lunch. My students are the financially less fortunate ones in town, but they don't know that. They know that they can make a difference in the lives of others...so they do. Each year, I have my fifth grade students choose a community service class project. This year, the student council decided to particpate in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients program. We were all amazed when the student body rallied together and raised over $1,700 for LLS. The best part was that they raised this money in honor of one of our own fourth graders who has been battling leukemia for several years now. We celebrated the success of this fundraiser and sent the money off to LLS. It was another good life lesson learned. No matter what your own situation might be, you can always do something to help others.
It would be nice if I could end this happy story here, but I can't. Apparently, our kids had another life lesson to learn. Several other fundraisers were held at our school this year. They fell into the category of typical school fundraisers: Scholastic Book Fair, Santa Shop, Friday snack sales, and the ever popular candy bar sale. They were all organized by our PTO, but the kids worked hard doing their part. Why? Because they knew their hard work would pay off. PTO fundraising money translates into field trips and fun end of the year activities. The fundraisers were a grand success...almost. When I asked the president if the PTO would be able to support our fifth grade promotion celebration with a donation of $100, I was told there was no money. Seriously? Well, one thing led to another and an investigation was launched. The end result was last Friday's arrest of our PTO president on felony embezzlement charges. Stealing from kids. Nice work. Over $10,000 that should have been used to support our students is gone. How do I explain that to my students? While there isn't enough time to recoup that money for the rest of this year's activities, you can bet that we will bounce back next year. The Fremont Bobcats are a resilient bunch.