For the students and faculty at Palmetto Middle School, the drama and arts departments have always brought a great sense of pride. But when it came to the auditorium it was a different story.
“The auditorium is almost exactly as it was in the late 80s and 90s, it’s in desperate need of upgrades,” says PTSA President Katie Abbott. “We are so lucky to have such a strong Fine Arts department, and they are deserving of an auditorium space that matches their talents.”
To that end the PTSA decided to get creative, launching a Go Fund Me online campaign in late 2016. The hope is to raise the $35,000 goal (($10,000 for sound and $25,000 for lighting) to install a new system before the school’s spring shows. “We thought that a targeted fundraiser would clearly show where funds are needed and where they would be spent,” says Abbott. “The launch of our campaign also started on one of the nights of our Holiday Show, so we were able to advertise it to an audience who is particularly interested in improving our auditorium facilities.”
At press time, the campaign had raised more than $2,500 between online and offline donations, with students spreading the word throughout school as well as passing out flyers to advertise the cause. Teachers Cristina Sabina (drama), Michele Alvarez (dance) and Michele Fernandez Denlinger (music) (whome parent Linda Dwyer calls “the dream team.”) have also been an integral part of the push. “We knew at the beginning of the year that the auditorium upgrades would be a priority for the PTSA this year, and our drama teacher Ms. Sabina has been particularly active in researching what the needs are for lighting and sound upgrades,” says Abbott.
Additionally, the team is encouraging alumni donations and business sponsorships (Jordan Kusch, P.A. has already signed on as a Patron Sponsor in support of the auditorium fund). “Fine Arts are integral to a school, and play such a huge role in the growth and development of middle school students. We invite and encourage the Pinecrest community to attend our spring show to see how fantastic our students are,” says Abbott.