BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem School PTO formed in September of 2012, and has had an extremely productive and successful first year.

BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem School PTO formed in September of 2012, and has had an extremely productive and successful first year.

In their firm support of the school, it's staff and the students, they have contributed to many special events held at the school, as well as organized fundraising programs to raise money to benefit the school. They are also taking part in planning events and programs they are hopeful to host and contribute to in the future. Their efforts so far have won them praise from teachers and parents, and the community as a whole.

These are some of the special events the PTO has helped contribute to:

Veteran's Day Luncheon: The Special Events Committee hosted local veteran's at a luncheon served by the culinary class and provided patriotic musical entertainment for the guests.

Christmas Dance/Valentine's Day Dance: Volunteers decorated the student activity center with lovely and colorful decorations for all the students to enjoy at the two dances.

Homecoming and Alumni Dinner: The Special Events Committee decorated the student activity center with “Blast from the Past” decorations, as well as the Choral Suite, in preparation for the Homecoming celebration and Alumni dinner on January 25th, and hosted a lovely buffet of finger foods for all attending alumni.

Teachers Appreciation Luncheon: This was hosted by the PTO on March 22nd, just before the teachers and staff left for spring break. The theme was “Chicken Soup for the Teacher's Soul,” and included homemade soups, sandwiches and salads made by the parents, as well as a motivational speaker to inspire them to continue their good works as educators of our children. Door prizes and small gifts were donated and given out to the teachers and staff as well. It turned out to be a wonderful day for everyone involved and everyone who attended.

For each of these events, the Spitshine Committee was in charge of cleaning and preparing all the rooms used for the special events, as well as the cleanup after.

These are some of the fundraising projects the PTO has organized this school year:

The Fall Festival: The PTO was proud to host a successful Fall Festival table, and one of the teachers graciously offered her services as a Fortune Teller.

Homecoming 2013: Chances were sold on a beautiful Homecoming Basketball Cake during the Homecoming games.

Pizza Hut Cards: The PTO Fundraising Committee headed and organized the sale of Pizza Hut promotional cards. Purchasers who spend $15 on any Pizza Hut purchase receive up to 12 medium pizzas for free. All the cards were sold, so this was a very successful program for the PTO and the school.

My Coke Rewards: Also hosted by the PTO Fundraising Committee, Bethlehem School is taking part in the MyCokeRewards Program. This allows for points to be awarded to the school by creating a My Coke Rewards account online and entering codes or by sending Coke product caps to the school which are then added to the account. These points will be used to purchase school related items.

Easter Bunny Pictures/Easter Baskets: The PTO Fundraising and Special Events Committees were proud to bring the Easter Bunny to Bethlehem School. Free pictures were taken for Pre-K through 6th grade, and the students also received a special treat. Chances were sold on two Easter baskets, one boy and one girl, with proceeds going to the PTO general fund.

For the upcoming First Annual Springtime Heritage Day at Bethlehem School scheduled for April 13, the PTO will host a live auction, plant sale and old time photos.

All funds raised will be used to help cover the costs of future projects and special events, and for programs in support of the teachers, such as the Teacher's Angel Project.

Current and Future Projects headed by the Bethlehem School PTO:

Greenhouse and Garden Project: The PTO Agricultural Committee worked hard to organize the cleaning and preparation of an on site greenhouse at the school, and is currently growing plants for sale at the upcoming Springtime Heritage Day Festival on April 13th. They also applied for and were awarded a grant by Walmart Stores to purchase some of the supplies needed for their future plans for this project, which include raised bed gardens, a butterfly garden, and classroom projects for the elementary students.

Arts and Music: PTO President and Music and Arts Committee Chairperson Tamra Kriser has played an integral role in the plans to add a music and arts program to the Bethlehem School curriculum. She drafted a petition to do so, which was signed by over 700 community members, including students and parents who support the plans for this new program. The Holmes District School Board was approached with the request in January of this year, and the petition was submitted for their consideration. The School Board has assured Mrs. Kriser that they are in the process of moving towards this goal. At this time, the first annual “Bethlehem's Got Talent” talent show has been approved, and is currently being planned for sometime in May where the student’s performing and visual arts talents will be showcased.

Teacher's Angel Project: This is a PTO fundraising project which will help teachers to get the supplies they need for their classrooms without having to purchase the items themselves.

Bethlehem School PTO Quarterly Newsletter: The first copy of the newsletter will be designed by the PTO Publicist Committee by year-end, and will be released quarterly from that point forward.

Bethlehem School Store: There will be extensive involvement by the PTO with the organizing and management of an in-house school store at Bethlehem School. They will also involve the business class students, who will be volunteering their free time to manage the store and sell the school supplies and small treats that will be stocked for sale to the students. There is money in a school fund for this project already, and Walmart Stores has a grant available to purchase supplies as well. All proceeds generated from the store will benefit the school, and it's students.


About the Bethlehem School PTO:

This Parent Teacher Organization is a service-oriented grassroots organization headed by concerned and dedicated parents of students at Bethlehem School. It was originally approved by the former principal of the school, Mr. Zeb Brown, and organized by the current elected President Tamra Kriser. The first meeting was held on September 20, 2012 where Mr. Brown and Mrs. Kriser explained the goals of the organization and the Administration to promote better communication between the parents and staff at the school, as well as head projects and events that would benefit the students and enhance their overall educational experience. The Bethlehem School PTO has successfully completed many of these tasks in their first year of operation, and they look forward to future contributions they will be able to make.

The current Executive Board of the PTO includes: Mrs. Tamra Kriser as President, Mrs. Cheryl Powell as Vice President, Mrs. Christine LiCausi as Secretary, Ms. Gynell Pettis-Hunter as Treasurer, and Ms. Gina Schultz as PTO Startup Advisor. The organization consists of over 30 active members, including both parents and teachers, and they hold official meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. A set of official PTO Bylaws was adopted by the Executive Board soon after elections were held, and Executive Board meetings are held after each PTO monthly meeting to discuss any further plans and actions needed by the organization.

There are also six official committees within the PTO. They are as follows: The Special Events Committee, headed by Mrs. Donna Carnley as Chairperson, and Ms. Gina Schultz as Co-Chairperson. The Fundraising Committee, headed by Ms. Gynell Pettis-Hunter as Chairperson, and Ms. Heather Clark as Co-Chairperson. The Spitshine Committee, headed by Mrs. Kathy Tate as Chairperson, and Mrs. Michelle Calhoun as Co-Chairperson. The Agricultural Committee, headed by Mrs. Sherry Byrum as Chairperson. The Music and Arts Committee, headed by Mrs. Tamra Kriser as Chairperson, and Mrs. Carla Templeton as Co-Chairperson. The Publicist Committee, headed by Mrs. Christine LiCausi as Chairperson.

There is an official Facebook page for the Bethlehem School PTO at: Anyone who would like more information about the organization, special events, volunteer opportunities, and all it's accomplishments can access this information at the official page. There is also a reference to this on the official Bethlehem High School Facebook page, and the Holmes District School Board website at: