PTSA June Newsletter
Highlights from the final PTSA newsletter of the school year.
Head to the PTSA website for information on how to volunteer.
When Tom Jones announced a few months ago, in his typical understated way, that he would not be seeking another term, I started to think hard about what it meant to be an effective school committee member. Being an effective school committee member requires collaboration. It requires a strong commitment to working with other board members toward the ultimate goal of providing the best possible education for the community’s children. Tom has been that team member but has also held the role of leader, through arguably some of the most challenging financial times in recent history. It is through his expertise in financial planning and revenue management, and as part of the team of administrators and the Budget Subcommittee wading their way through these years, that Holliston’s classrooms have escaped major negative impacts.
Being an effective school committee member also requires balance and objectivity. It means making difficult decisions that may very well negatively affect your own child or your own family’s circumstances. It means never being only a parent in your community. It means having a thick skin in the face of criticism. It means being accountable. Tom has spent the last nine years listening, responding calmly and respectfully in the most heated of situations, and fully participating in the business of education by framing and grounding issues in data and facts and not emotion. He has communicated issues large and small patiently and repeatedly. He has been able to build consensus on difficult matters without wavering in his demands for excellence. Tom has negotiated a number of collective bargaining agreements, which might be the ultimate in balancing acts.
Being an effective school committee member requires sacrifice. It means a second job, and at certain times of the year, it’s a full-time job, especially for the chairperson of the Budget Subcommittee. It requires late nights, early mornings, weekends, and giving up significant time with your family that, as everyone knows, you never get back. I’d like to recognize Tom’s wife, Jayne, and his children, TJ and Emmy Kate, for sharing Tom. We greatly appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made, as well.
Being an effective school committee member requires an awareness of broader educational issues. It means you are constantly educating yourself on how changes at the federal, state, and local level will impact your own district, changes that, these days, travel at the speed of light. Tom has done all that for nine years. He has not had a single agenda but the agenda of each student achieving to his or her own best level of excellence, and he has been able to tie Holliston’s progress into the larger state of public education. Fighting the status quo in education is often like the salmon’s journey upstream, and education’s current is especially strong.
Most of all, being an effective school committee member requires passion—passion for the singular potential that public education can provide. In Holliston, Tom has been the staunchest advocate for the highest quality public education. On behalf of the entire School Committee and the Administrative Team, I’d like to thank Tom for his patience, his good humor, his smarts, his sense of responsibility, and his passion. The talents and leadership he has brought to this position have undoubtedly made the Holliston schools better. The entire community is richer for his service.
—Kind regards, Erica Plunkett, Chairperson, Holliston School Committee
Holliston Music and Arts Parents Association (HMAPA)
The 2011–2012 school year is ending with some wonderful collaborative shows featuring the visual and performing arts. First was Art Saves Lives, which featured the work of graduating seniors and included work from many other artists K–12. Following the show was a delightful benefit concert to raise funds for Mr. Doug Lack, beloved art teacher at Holliston High School. Many students, along with a few community members and teachers, sang, danced, and played instruments. Many thanks to Stu Britton for organizing the concert and to the Holliston High School art staff, Doug Lack, Matt Blood, and Lisa Bynoe, for all of their work organizing the show.
Next came the RAMS Art and Jazz Night, organized by art teacher Heather Hebert and band director David Stanton. The Middle School corridors were filled with colorful drawings, paintings, and sculpture, and visitors were entertained by the Junior Jazz Band and the Honors Jazz Band. It was great to see so many families turn out to support the arts. And turn out they did for the end-of-year concerts in May and early June, as it was standing-room-only for some of the well-received performances.
As the school year comes to a close, HMAPA would like to thank the rest of the arts teachers not named above for all of their efforts this year: at Placentino Meredith Buono, Lori Ostapovicz, and Renee Popek; at Miller Brandon Arzillo, Susan Baxter, Kathy Belhumeur, and Christine Petersen; at the Middle School Michael Jones; and at Holliston High School Brian Hickey and Joe Lordan. We would also like to recognize Kindergarten art teacher Jane DeWitt, who retired in January. Thanks, Ms. DeWitt, for devoting so many years to our youngest students.
These dedicated educators put in long hours, especially at performance time, to make sure that students are well-prepared, lines are memorized, scenery is in place, technology is set, art is hung. They go above and beyond their contractual obligations to inspire confidence in individuals and enthusiasm in their groups. Please join me in thanking these teachers for all that they do for our children.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be June without having to say good-bye to a wonderful group of seniors who have made the performing and visual arts such a big part of their lives this year and in previous years. We enjoyed hearing you sing and play, being onstage and backstage in Joseph, Humans, and Twelfth Night, and seeing your creations lovingly displayed in the halls of Holliston High School. We will miss you next year and wish you all the best as you move on to the next phase of your lives. Keep singing/playing/creating.
HMAPA would also like to recognize a special group of Holliston High School band members who mentored band students at RAMS for the last half of the school year, sitting in on rehearsals every Monday and running sectionals. This very dedicated group of students has encouraged many 8th graders to join the high school band. Kudos to Carolyn Banak, Meg Dooley, Ben Campbell, Mackenzie Denker, Rachel Harris, Cody Pennypacker, and Maddy Tate.
Finally, we hope that all our Holliston families have a pleasant summer filled with relaxation and joyful family time. When September rolls around again, please think about supporting arts education for your children by joining HMAPA. You can find us on the Web at www.hollistonmusicandarts.org.
—Leslie Dooley, President