Parti Gras Numbers Reach All-Time High

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As president of the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, I see so many examples of how our community comes together, time and time again, to support our five amazing schools.  I see it in August when the 40 or so SPEF board members hash out a plan for the coming school year.  I see it when we all call you during our Fall Fund Drive.  I see it during Tiger Tourney and at the Color Festival.  But, what I saw out at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course late last month blew me and everyone at SPEF away.
All told, 967 tickets were sold to this year’s Parti Gras.  That’s a record for us and a real achievement, considering that this annual event began as a relatively small gathering in a parking lot. Now the final tallies are still being worked on, but I expect that with your generous donations, we probably raised more than $150,000 for the district.  In addition, we held a paddle raise, where auctioneer asks for guests to raise their paddles to make a monetary donation towards a special project, and in this case to help repair the high school football stadium’s bleachers. That brought in $16,345. SPEF is going to match that with another $13,655 to make it an even 30-grand.
What’s special about Parti Gras isn’t just the fundraising aspect of it.  It’s the one time of the year when people from all over the city come together to do something great.  Sure, we socialize. We eat, dance and maybe have one too many cocktails, but we all come because we all care.  Our schools are the cathedrals of our small city.  We trust our children to them, believing the education they receive there is better than what they could get elsewhere.  We also know that the district’s level of excellence is due in part to the dedication of parents.
That dedication is evident in our success in 2015-16.  Not only did Parti Gras bring in close to a thousand guests, we were also able to donate $718,120 to the district this year. Our annual campaign brought in $600,000 in unrestricted funding. SPEF also made a $43,200 grant to the district for its Train Your Brain program.  We kicked in nearly $20,000 for new lighting at the high school auditorium and handed out just under $35,000 in small grants to teachers to fund unique classroom experiences.
For all that, I say thank you. None of SPEF’s work would be possible without the generous support of the people and businesses in and around South Pasadena. Your dedication is a testament to our community and is one big reason why South Pasadena’s schools are what they are.
That being said, our work at SPEF doesn’t end when school lets out for the summer.  One of our largest and most successful programs is Summer School, which offers an abundance of exciting classes for students of all ages, everything from coding, Chinese and volleyball to duct tape art, film making and robotics.  For more information or to enroll, visit our website at www.spef4kids.org.
So once again, thank you South Pasadena.  Our success, the success of our schools and the success of our children is due in large part to the dedication you have to supporting the district.  We have some big things planned for next year and we’re looking forward to working with you to keep our schools the oases of awesomeness they are.  Have a great summer!

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