East School’s first Founder’s Day a success

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East School in Long Beach celebrated its inaugural Founder’s Day event on Feb. 8. The event paid homage to the founders of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and included award presentations, student performances and remarks from organizers. It was held in conjunction with East’s 90th anniversary year and featured a 1920’s theme in honor of the building’s 1926 construction.

East’s Founder’s Day was attended by members of the district’s board of education, administration, staff and PTA. Senator Todd Kaminsky, an East graduate, came back to his former elementary school to support the initiative and district.

Principal Kathleen Connolly welcomed guests and discussed the significance of the event.

“Tonight is a celebration of how an amazing Parent Teacher Association can work and pull together as a team. Our school is filled tonight with staff and parents who willingly give up their time from their own families and who are dedicated to making East the best it can be for the children that attend,” she said.

East School PTA Co-Presidents Leah Enfield and Patrice Krzeminski shared the history of Founder’s Day to reflect on the individuals who took active roles in improving children’s lives.

The evening also included the presentation of the PTA Life Membership Awards to Ms. Krzeminski and AIS Reading Teacher Shari Steier. Former East Principal Ronni Reimel and current Central Council PTA Co-President Gerri Maquet were honored as past recipients of this distinction.

As a highlight to the event, fifth-grade band and chorus participants performed “When the Saints Come Marching in,” “Hard Rock Blues,” “1812 Overture” and “Dr. Jazz.” Students also demonstrated the Foxtrot, which they are practicing as part of the Dancing Classrooms program that will culminate with a special show in March. Attendees were offered 1920s-style headbands that students created under the guidance of teachers, and members of the high school’s National Honor Society provided free babysitting.

Founder’s Day was a collaborative effort that illustrated the sense of unity that is prevalent in Long Beach. Ms. Connolly and parent Sherri Fackler developed the idea to bring the event to East, and PTA Vice President of Membership Jennifer Ragona and parent Jaimie Calkin helped to coordinate it. A number of local restaurants and stores donated food, including Long Beach Bagel Café, East End Café, Himawari, Stop & Shop, Brixx & Barley, Mo’Nelisa, Sutton Place, Super Pollo, Whale’s Tale, Country Boy Bakery, Monarch Beverage and the Bungalow. Decorations were contributed by Verbena Designs and Shira Z Photography captured memories from the gathering.

East plans to make Founder’s Day an annual occasion and extends gratitude to all who played a role in making its introduction a success.