Sherman County PTO celebrates full calendar of events
By Jessica R. Wheeler
The Sherman Parent Teacher Organization is only partway through the academic year, but it has already hosted a full slate of events for families and youths — and there’s still more fun yet to come.
Tonight, the Sherman PTO will host the Dr. Seuss Carnival on March 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Later this month, the Missoula Children’s Theatre will put on two shows next month, March 24 at 7 p.m. and March 25 at 3 p.m.
Sherman PTO is a group of parents and teachers of Sherman County kids. According to its mission statement, Sherman PTO fosters a sense of community both inside the school environment and outside of school, as well.
“We bring parents together to meet one another outside of school, helping us to get to know our neighbors and meet families that are new to the county,” PTO said in a statement.
PTO President Liz Cranston said their team of dedicated volunteers has been working hard to plan back-to-back family friendly events all year.
“We strongly believe that building these relationships, learning about support organizations and gaining knowledge from each other will make us stronger parents and educators and in turn strengthen our kids and families,” Cranston said. “A huge part of that is simply planning fun, engaging and enriching activities for the whole family throughout the school year.”
Planning began in September with the start of school. Sherman PTO hosted a combined planning meeting with Sherman Boosters to bring parents and community members together to discuss options for the entire year. Sherman County Prevention has also been involved with events, with a focus on providing safe and fun activities for Sherman youths.
The organizations co-sponsored the annual Halloween Trunk-or-Treat festivities at the Wasco School Events Center, as well at the Smith Farms Haunted Barn just outside Wasco. In November, PTO helped support the Sherman Prevention and Sherman Wellness Center’s 5k Turkey Trot.
“Unfortunately, two different snow storms made us cancel the Polar Express, but we can’t wait to put it on next year,” Cranston said. Polar Express Night at the school typically features books and storytime, with hot cocoa and treats, in keeping with the theme of this iconic holiday storybook.
In January, they hosted a family game night with pizza, prizes and family friendly competition. February kicked off with both a family dance and middle school dance, held on the same night in different wings of the school. Volunteers and school staff came together to adorn both spaces with blacklights and assorted glow decor. Kids and families were invited to wear their brightest neon clothing and dance the night away.
Also in February, volunteers packaged up their annual hygiene kits for 5th and 6th grade students. The kits were stuffed with shampoo, soaps and body washes, toothbrushes and deodorant and were distributed to students free of charge.
“We truly have the best volunteers in our community,” Cranston said of the upcoming carnival. “All the booths will be manned by parents and community organizations. Bouncy houses, cotton candy, prizes, face painting and live fish are all donated this year by local businesses and organizations.”
Those supporting the school carnival and other events this year include MCP, MCGG, Dinty’s, Sherman Prevention, Four Rivers Early Learning Hub, the McGregor Company and others. PTO events are also funded in part by a grant from Sherman County Cultural Coalition.
Toward the end of the school year, the group is planning a Pinewood Derby, a Cinco de Mayo fundraiser and activities for Field Day on the last day of school.
Aside from fundraising events, parent volunteers raise money and boost school pride by selling Husky apparel. And next month, they will be recognizing classified staff and teachers with goodie bags, food and gifts.
“We also have amazing parents who take Gus the Husky all over, showcasing their careers and how what they learned in school helps them in their jobs today,” Cranston said of the PTO’s mascot, a plush Husky named Gus.
Deanna Christiansen of Sherman County Prevention, who is also the Booster Club secretary and longtime volunteer, said they would love to have more parents and volunteers throughout the year. “Remember, every parent of a 7th through 12th grader is a Booster Parent and can participate in events and meetings, and engage in events that support the intra/extra-curricular activities for all Sherman students,” Christiansen said. “Being active in Boosters or PTO is a wonderful way to connect with other parents, families, and to be an active part of the broader school community. We have been so excited to partner with PTO — coming together has felt wonderful this year.”