More fund-raisers coming


by Frances Edstrom

Looking for a last-minute gift idea? There's always a flu shot.

The major news media, intending to do nothing more than cast aspersions on the Bush administration, was apparently successful instead in scaring people who need it away from seeking the shot. That's what will happen when you shoot an arrow in the air (where it falls you know not where!).

Heck, there's so much extra flu vaccine out there that a Twin Cities mom used some to make money for her daughter's class fund-raiser. Good thing she didn't work in the colonoscopy department.

I think maybe this schoolkid as salesperson has gone a little too far. It all started with parents doing their kids' science projects. You just knew that pretty soon it wouldn't be enough to send your darling out on her bike with her candy bars or order sheets. Nope, parents have to stick their noses in and raise the ante. It won't be long before the prize for selling the most won't be a limo ride with the principal, but a trip to Las Vagas.

Parent and student fund-raising has become a big buck business for even public schools these days, as they wrangle with the legislature for funding. Winona Middle School raised $40,000 for the trip by a few students and their chaperones to our sister city in Japan. Cotter High School consistently raises well over $50,000 with its Cotter Auction. Save Our Fine Arts (SOFA) has raised thousands ($20,000 in WSHS scholarships in just one year, I heard, and well over $100,000 for a capital improvement project at the WSHS auditorium).

SOFA may be asked to give even more if the school district indeed cuts the funding of the school musical. A pitch here for the musical: if you've been to one, you know that it is top notch entertainment. But the more important thing is that at the same time that it showcases the stars, the kids with real musical and theatrical talent, it also involves absolutely any kid who wants to take part "”on stage, with a real part to play. For many kids it is the only time in their high school careers where they get to be standouts and receive accolades. I understand the fiscal constraints of the school district, but perhaps a better cut would be to an extracurricular program that benefits a lucky few, not one that may be the only extracurricular activity of the year for a large number of kids.

In any event, look for more fund-raising in 2005 from the public schools. Selling flu shots might not be on the list, and I'm sure it is drastically politically incorrect to revive the old kissing booth idea. But get your wallet ready anyway.


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