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HPTO to celebrate 30 years of helping schools in district

by | Mar 6, 2024 | Education, Featured: Education

HPTO carnival

The spring carnival is one of the HPTO’s popular fundraising events. PHOTO/HPTO

Since its inception 30 years ago, the Hopkinton Parent Teacher Organization has raised $2.75 million in support of the Hopkinton School district, for preschool through 12th grade, organizers said.

Not only is it unusual for a PTO to exist for three decades, it is rare for it to distribute funding across the entire system rather than focusing on individual schools.

“Throughout the school year, we try to do as much as we can to build connections with the community and schools,” said HPTO president Sarah Navin.

Navin said the wide range of ages and numerous school buildings the group supports is “really amazing. … It’s more transparent [this way], and the board works together well. We know what is happening at all the different schools.”

The HPTO has contributed about $100,000 annually in recent times, Navin said, and she expects its contribution this year to be approximately that total.

The group relies on fundraisers and other events to make that donation possible.

Celebration of 30th year planned

Taking center stage this year will be the HPTO’s 30th anniversary celebration.

On April 6, the HPTO will host a 1990s prom birthday event with desserts, drinks and dancing at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts from 7:30-10:30 p.m. The adult-only fundraiser will feature a live ’90s cover band as well as a silent auction and raffles.

Tickets are $100 until March 3, $125 between March 4-25 and $140 at the door.

For more information, visit hptoonline.com.

Navin explained that HPTO runs several major and smaller fundraisers throughout the year that families and children anticipate and enjoy.

HopSwap event offers clothes, toys, more

HopSwap, planned for March 16 from 9 a.m.-noon at Hopkinton Middle School is a giant yard sale where attendees are encouraged to fill a bag full of clothes and/or shoes, with each item priced affordably and suitable for ages 0-18.

Navin said the event is ideal for new families who may not have everything they need or parents, grandparents and kids looking for gifts.

There is a lot to choose from, with the gym packed with “everything kid-related,” according to Navin, including sporting goods, toys, books and stuffed animals.

The overflow of clothes and accessories are housed in the cafeteria.

The co-sponsor of the event is the Hopkinton Moms Group.

Harlem Wizards visit April 2

Other fundraisers, like the Tall and Small Ball, gives students with a parent or chaperone the opportunity to get all dressed up, while the annual Harlem Wizards game pits the comedic basketball team against the teachers.

Navin said the April 2 Wizards event typically sells out in a few days.

Additionally, discussions are ongoing about bringing back a carnival for all ages in June.

“It’s a great way to keep the community feeling welcome and keeping it together versus separate,” Navin said.

With the funds raised, the HPTO provides a range of programs from guest speakers to extracurricular classes like cooking and fitness after school.

The group offers scholarships for graduating seniors and money for materials associated with the high school science fair. It also helps pay for technology, teacher development, field trips and more.

The 20-member board includes two vice-presidents at each school who meet monthly with administrators to discuss needs.

Volunteers wanted

In addition, there is a core group of 60 volunteers who have specific roles at five schools. Navin said the group always could use more help.

“There are so many nonprofits and sports groups out there, it is more challenging than ever to find donors,” Navin said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished, and the hope is to create a welcoming feeling.”

Annual memberships costs families $30. It’s $25 for a faculty family and $15 for faculty to join.

Navin said there is no obligation to volunteer or attend meetings. Participants can decide how they want to be involved — whether simply purchasing a membership or helping in the classroom, joining the board or volunteering at events.

She said her role equals an unpaid part-time job, but she loves it.

“It’s great,” she said of her involvement with the HPTO. “Everyone is so nice and really wants to help.”

She added, “Our teachers and students are so wonderful. We strive to have access to the best school system possible and make that goal a reality.”

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