After years on hiatus, the Island Trees elementary schools – J. Fred Sparke Elementary and Michael F. Stokes Elementary – were excited to bring back their Blitz fundraiser. The annual event, which has been on hold since 2020 due to COVID-19, will help continue to support the schools’ Cultural Arts program, and events such as Team Adventure Day, Pick A Reading Partner (PARP), Field Day, Fun Fair, Holiday Family Night, and much more!
Hundreds of community members were in attendance including parents, grandparents, PTA members, alumni, business owners, and school board members. The fundraiser operated in two parts; first, a bingo match using playing cards, followed by the raffle prize winner announcements. The Blitz offered dozens of raffle prizes and 50/50 giveaways. Winning items included airline tickets, hotel accommodations, professional baseball and hockey game tickets, gift cards to local restaurants, and many more. All Blitz raffle prizes were donated by individuals as well as local businesses, speaking to the level of community support this event inspired.
Dr. Penny Fisher, Principal at Sparke Elementary, and Allison Ackerman, Principal at Stokes Elementary, were thrilled to see such a turnout, especially after such a long break from formal operations. Dr. Fisher credits the success of the event to the charisma of the PTA. “Our PTA has an amazing attitude, a can-do attitude. One year they did [the Blitz] from someone’s house. One year they did an outdoor event. So, this year we were trying to refresh our memories, all the things we needed to do to make a wonderful event.” And the event looked exactly as it should; long tables filled the length of the Island Trees Memorial Middle School gymnasium, and raffle baskets and prizes lined all four walls.
Participants also add their own unique flare to the experience, bringing their own food, games, even lounge chairs, to settle in for the evening and – hopefully – win big! “People get so into the Blitz – people come just for the Bingo and raffle prizes,” said Dr. Fisher. “It’s such a supportive, enthusiastic community.”
The Blitz was driven and powered by the schools’ Parent-Teacher Association. Originally nervous about the success of the event, the PTA was pleasantly surprised at the eagerness of the community to help make the Blitz’s return so special. “People were very generous in their donations, especially the small businesses. This year everybody was eager to help, get their names out there and support us as an organization,” they reported. Dr. Fisher agreed, “It’s such a special community, it’s so small knit, and people really care about their neighbors… This is really a highlight of that.”
“We are thrilled to once again be together in-person, raising funds that will enable us to continue to deliver diverse and enriching activities and programs for our students,” said Tara Carroll and Melisa Esposito, co-Presidents of the Island Trees Elementary PTA. “As a result of this fundraiser, we look forward to continuing to help enrich the lives of students who are just beginning their academic and developmental journey. Thank you to our principals, our teachers, staff, parents, and local business community who continue to help us invest in our children’s futures. The Blitz is back!”
About Island Trees Union Free School District:
Island Trees is an award-winning school district that maintains a high reputation among schools in Nassau County and New York State. Through a commitment to educational excellence and an advanced understanding of early adolescence, Island Trees Schools inspire students to develop a passion for learning, living, and fulfilling themselves as concerned, responsible citizens.
–Original press release courtesy of Island Trees Union Free School District