educationvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Palmyra High School education foundation event raises $15,000 for science labs

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PALMYRA, NJ — Palmyra High School (PHS) will be the beneficiary of $15,000 in science equipment thanks to a casino night fundraiser conducted by the Palmyra High School Foundation for Educational Excellence (PHSFEE).

The September 9 event was the first major fundraiser for PHSFEE, which was founded in 2016 as, according to its bylaws, “a community-based organization established to create community partnerships, and to acquire and distribute funds and other resources for the purpose of” supporting PHS.

The casino night was a targeted effort to raise money for PHS’s science program. PHSFEE worked with the school, specifically its science faculty, to develop a list of items that will be purchased and then donated during a board of education meeting in the near future.

PHSFEE trustees said they have established connections with two science equipment suppliers who can provide this equipment at reduced cost.

In a speech at the end of the evening, PHSFEE Vice President and Fundraising Chair Sean Toner thanked the large contingent of volunteers who made the night a success. “This was a real team effort to make this event come together, and in the end, everyone’s hard work really showed.”

In addition to being a win for PHS children, casino night appeared to be a great deal of fun. The company Tumbling Dice ran games of chance, well-loved barbecue restaurant Sweet Lucy’s catered, and Cooper River Distilleries set up a specialty drink, the PHSFEE fizz, which was a big hit among attendees. Sacred Heart generously donated its gymnasium space.

Participants played games like blackjack, Texas hold ‘em, roulette, and craps, winning tickets that were then used to “bid” on nearly 50 prizes that had been donated, mostly by local businesses. The grand prize was an $1,100-value week in the Poconos trip. In the spirit of the event, the winners of that prize, the McCarron family, offered to “sell” the vacation week for $500 and then give the full sales price to the organization, although no one was willing to make the commitment on the spot!

There was also a 50/50 drawing. The winner, who was not present, received $2,000, and she donated $100 back.

The fundraiser nearly sold out, with almost 200 community members and supporters in attendance, including PHS superintendent Brian McBride and board of education and council members from both Palmyra and Riverton. Several PHS teachers served as guest bartenders.

PHSFEE President Scott Warnock said that PHSFEE will continue to work to “help change the conversation in the community about public schools.”

The idea for casino night was hatched at one of the education foundation’s early open, public meetings, in which a fundraising subcommittee led by now PHSFEE trustee Chris Murnane proposed the idea. Although PHSFEE trustees and other volunteers worked under a tight timeline all summer, attendees made numerous compliments about how smoothly run the event was. “I’m thrilled that we were able to turn an idea into a successful event,” Murnane said. “All of our hard work certainly paid off, and I am so proud of our community for coming together. What a great night!”

Because of the success of the event, PHSFEE will likely offer another casino night in fall 2018, said Toner.

PHSFEE’s next open public meeting is October 12 at the Palmyra High School cafeteria from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

Scott Warnock is a writer and teacher who lives in South Jersey. He is a professor of English at Drexel University, where he directs the University Writing Program. Father of three and husband of one, Scott is on two local school boards and coaches all kinds of youth sports.

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3 Responses to “Palmyra High School education foundation event raises $15,000 for science labs”

  1. Congrats on the successful event!

  2. It was a fabulous night and I’m so proud of the amount of money raised!! I only wish the $3,000 I won at roulette that night could have been turned into real cash I could have donated!! Can’t wait for the event next year!! Congrats to everyone involved! Palmyra Proud!

  3. Thank you for a great event! It was a ton of fun and ran smoothly… who knew 4 cards in a row don’t matter in hold’em… Cheers to the 1st of many successful night’s for the PHSFEE!

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