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South Kitsap High School adds Parent Teacher Student Association
The initial reaction often is surprise.
South Kitsap PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) co-president Carey Alvestad said people often are stunned to hear that the high school previously did not have a chapter.
That changed last month when Alvestad and Tracy Hopkins were among 30 charter members who launched the organization at the school.
Alvestad said the impetus behind the chapter came a couple of years ago when her daughter hoped to take the PSAT. She said many high schools offer the test to any student who signs up between ninth and 11th grades. South was not among them and only other option for Alvestad’s daughter, Maria Alvestad-Ereth, was to travel to Mount Vernon for the exam. After discussing the matter with then-superintendent Dave LaRose, Alvestad said he suggested that she form a PTSA.
Both Alvestad and Hopkins noted that the high school features several booster clubs, including those for athletics and band, but believes the PTSA can complement those organizations.
“We’re there to support all of the students,” Hopkins said. “We’re not targeted.”
PTSA’s often are synonymous with elementary schools, but Cathi Cochran, who serves as the high school’s PTSA secretary, said she thinks it is important at all grade levels.
“I’ve found that my teenagers need me at home a lot more,” she said. “A little kid will tell you what they need. A teenager often is embarrassed to say.”
Hopkins noted there are other benefits to being involved with the PTA, which was founded in 1905 and is the state’s largest volunteer organization with more than 900 units and 127,000 members. Among those is the Reflections Art Scholarship Program, which is only open to schools affiliated with the PTA.
“Being able to offer that at the high-school level is fantastic,” Hopkins said.
South’s chapter, which joins those at other area high schools including Bremerton, Central Kitsap, Olympic and North Kitsap, has been well-received so far by faculty.
“We don’t feel any pushback,” Cochran said.
In addition to working with parents and students, Hopkins wants the PTSA to be another resource for educators.
“They’re asked to do more and more with less and less every year,” she said. “We want to do anything to let them know they’re appreciated.”
Because of the organization’s newness at the high school, Alvestad said they are seeking input from students and parents relating to “short-term goal setting.” That could include fundraising, but she notes that it won’t be as intense.
“So many people are overworked and tired,” said Alvestad, a registered oncology nurse. “We don’t want to waste time and resources.”
The PTSA will meet once, usually the first Wednesday except when a holiday or school break necessitates a change, monthly at 6:30 p.m. at the high-school library. Upcoming meets are April 10, May 1 and June 5. Membership is $10 and does not require renewal until Oct. 31.
The PTSA also is hosting an event from 5-7 p.m. April 27 at Hi-Joy Bowl. The “moonlight bowl” is $8.