More than two dozen major donors to Palmetto Senior High School programs were treated to French toast, orange juice and coffee at the school’s first annual Donor Breakfast on Feb. 19 in the Hibiscus Room at Pinecrest Gardens.
The event served to recognize the invitees’ support for Palmetto’s academic and extracurricular programs, which includes the purchase of ancillary materials for the reading and language arts departments, equipment for the media TV production program, instruments for the band and orchestra and a scale for the wrestling team.
PTSA President Diana Tejada welcomed the guests, noting that it had been a particularly busy year for the PTSA. She highlighted the organization’s hosting of a Town Hall meeting on the school bond referendum, and a series of new initiatives to boost parent involvement. In particular, she singled out activities geared to freshman parents.
Palmetto principal Dr. Allison Harley warmly thanked each of the contributors for their donations. She indicated that Palmetto — an “A” school and home to the AP/Cambridge Capstone program and, beginning next year, an iPrep program — was the “top comprehensive high school” in the county. At comprehensive high schools, she noted, students’ choices are not limited to a single specialty. Palmetto students can play baseball, play in the jazz band and participate in electives like culinary arts classes, all at the same time. Revealing that she commutes more than an hour each way in order to serve as Palmetto’s principal, she said, “I love this school.”
Proudly declaring herself to be “a lifelong Panther,” Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner, founder of the newly-formed Palmetto Alumni Association, emphasized that Palmetto’s reputation is an asset to the community. In turn, through its Educational Compact with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Village of Pinecrest has formalized a strategic plan for supporting and enhancing local public schools.
Keynote speaker Ron Shuffield, president and CEO of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell Realtors, noted his close ties with local schools, spanning more than 38 years, both personally — all three of his children graduated from Palmetto High — and professionally. He said one of the main reasons for the success of the Pinecrest real estate market is the quality of Village schools. Area teachers “should be on commission,” he said with a smile.
Shuffield expressed optimism for the future of the real estate market in the local area and highlighted Pinecrest’s attraction for international buyers. Palmetto High and its feeder schools are definitely part of his sales pitch.
“For the price of a condo, you can put your kids in great public schools instead of sending them to private schools,” he said.
Attorney Marian Hasty doesn’t need to be convinced; she contributes both as a business owner and a parent to Palmetto’s Donation Fund.
“My law partner went to Palmetto,” she said.“My children attend and we support our local community.”
PTSA program co-chair Anna Hochkammer organized the breakfast, which was catered by A Fare to Remember. Jose A. Garcia of Sunshine Bouquet Company, also Pinecrest resident, donated fresh roses that graced each of the donor tables.
For more information about the Palmetto Senior High donation program, go to www.palmettohighptsa.org