Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Staff offering themselves for picnic auction
Star Center event raises funds for PTO

by Steve Targo

June 02, 2011

Pell Lake — Every year, there's a community picnic at Star Center Elementary School, rain or shine, featuring food, games and a chance for people to get together.

But when asked why the picnic usually draws such a large crowd, Star Center Principal Betsy Schroeder said, without a moment's thought, it's the silent auction.

The Star Center Parent-Teacher Organization auctions off baskets at each picnic "of all prices and all interests." Schroeder said last yearthe PTO raised $7,500.

For this year's picnic Tuesday, June 7, she said PTO members hope to raise $10,000. To do it, there will be some baskets at the silent auction which are a little different.

"The staff is offering themselves," Schroeder said.

She said second-grade teacher Ben Rindo has offered to take a student on a boat ride on Geneva Lake. Art teacher Aryn Skilling will provide a pottery lesson to a student. First-grade teacher Johnalee Kawalec is offering to take a bicycle ride with a child.

Schroeder said these are just a few of the new baskets set for this year's auction, something usually the PTO and others help prepare.

"The PTO is trying to make a goal of $10,000 with the silent auction and to do it they have these baskets that families work on with the classrooms," she said.

Why set the bar higher? According to Schroeder, it's to cover the cost of what the PTO provides. One of the new ways the PTO is helping is by providing a $500 scholarship to a Badger High School student who attended Star Center for at least fifth-grade.

"They (the PTO) have fulfilled wish lists for people this year," Schroeder said. "They do so much."

Some of "so much" includes holding ice cream socials, pizza days, funding field trips, donating T-shirts which figured prominently in the school's "lifelong learner" theme, craft days and the school's Running Start program. Recently, the PTO purchased a Wii for the school, Schroeder said.

But the June 7 picnic isn't just about the auction.

"It's a great way to celebrate the end of a successful school year and to celebrate summer," Schroeder said.