Unexpected gift saves activities

Published 10:43 pm Thursday, December 23, 2010

Raffle: Keith Hubbard, Principal of Nansemond Parkway Elementary, displays his raffle prize of $500.

An unsolicited gift will make a big difference for Nansemond Parkway Elementary School students.

In a casual conversation with an acquaintance, Bonnie Berryman, Nansemond Parkway Elementary School PTA vice president, explained her disappointment that Suffolk Public Schools would not be financially supporting field trips.

Berryman never expected that the conversation would result in a $1,000 donation to the school’s PTA.

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The donor, whom Berryman said wishes to remain anonymous, suggested that Berryman use the funds to purchase items for a raffle. The PTA would be able to use the funds raised from ticket sales to support “classroom enhancement activities,” in which visitors or the field trip comes to the classroom. These activities will take the place of field trips for Nansemond Parkway students this year.

Members of the PTA say that such activities are vital to the learning experience. “It brings what they are learning to life,” PTA President Barbara Sinclair said.

The PTA began selling raffle tickets before Thanksgiving at $10 a piece. In addition to the funds donated by the anonymous donor, Konikoff Dentistry donated two teeth-whitening packets. The PTA sold 315, tickets raising enough money to pay for all of the scheduled classroom activities, according to Sinclair.

“The $1,000 grew into $3,000 — actually more than $3,000,” Berryman said. “I am absolutely enthralled with the results.”

The raffle concluded with a bit of a surprise for those who participated. Barbara Jones, teacher’s assistant and designated ticket-picker began laughing hysterically as she silently read the name off the winning ticket.

She was joined by other PTA members who ran into the main office to find their grand prize winner, who turned out to be the school’s principal, Keith Hubbard. Hubbard won $500 that he will use to purchase Christmas gifts.

Other winners included Anne Nelson, who won a $200 gift card to Best Buy; Charity Ayres and Charlene Bell, who won teeth-whitening packages; Debbie Pauley, who won a Kindle reader; and Lisa Lloyd who won an iPod.