Appreciation and Honoring Speech to Pythagoras Academy Parents’ Organization

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Author: Janis Severloh

Good morning Pythagoras Academy students, staff and families. Thank you Mr. Bouchard for giving me the opportunity to speak.

It is very common for schools to have a parent council. However, it is quite exceptional to have a parent council like ours. Pythagoras Academy’s Parent Organization, affectionately known as PAPO, has raised thousands and thousands of dollars for our school and organized numerous school events. They have also volunteered hours of their valuable time year after year, without complaint. We wanted to take some time to express our appreciation and deep gratitude for everything PAPO has contributed to our school over the last number of years. 

The influence and support of PAPO is felt throughout the school, from the purchase of musical instruments for JK all the way to microscopes for our grade 7 and 8 students. While I prepared this speech, I found out about many projects and items that PAPO has paid for that I didn’t even know about! Please allow me a few minutes to share these with you as well.

PAPO has made a huge investment in our school’s arts program. They have bought easels, a pottery wheel and stool and other art supplies. Mrs. Rich shared that the upper elementary students love using the pottery wheel to make clay bowls and mugs. It is one of the most exciting art projects of the year, according to the students.

Earlier this year, the kindergarten and grade one teaching team put together a proposal for a story studio; a place where students can explore and develop their own stories with loose parts and art materials. The studio will provide many opportunities for cross curricular projects and we are so grateful that PAPO has agreed to sponsor this new project. You will find it beside the Learning Commons and library.

PAPO purchased Orff instruments for JK students. Ms. Huang shared that these instruments “have given JK students the opportunity to explore a variety of sounds and enriched their musical learning experience.”

Ms. Swords and Ms. Welk are extremely grateful for PAPO’s support with purchasing costumes for the winter concert and our whole school musical productions, most recently Mary Poppins. The costumes are of a significantly higher quality than you would find at other schools. This is all thanks to PAPO and for their high regards for the arts.

PAPO has also heavily invested in technology at Pythagoras Academy.

It’s hard to imagine teaching in 2020 without a data projector and laptop. Both items are vital for teachers as a way to project images, videos and texts instantly. Teachers also have access to document cameras which allow them to project a page from a book or model a problem with math manipulatives. Thank you PAPO for investing money into these extremely important items that we use every single day.

Teachers are also extremely grateful for class sets of iPads and the iPad minis that were purchased for each homeroom teacher. The kindergarten team shared that the class set of iPads have given students the opportunity to be creative and have fun with learning activities on the iPad and work on Seesaw activities with their big buddies. Teachers love documenting student learning and sharing it with parents. The iPad minis have helped make this easier than ever!

Our esteemed information/technology teacher, Ms. Vihovska, believes that the items that PAPO have purchased for our IT program have helped us raise the bar and really sets us apart from other schools. She shared, “It is so impressive to see how students can easily sketch designs and 3D print complex 3D modelling projects after compiling the MakerBot Certification Program.” PAPO has also purchased many Lego robotics sets which help engage students by giving them opportunities to use their imagination, creativity and design skills. Ms. Vihovska thinks it’s no wonder that we had so many winners this year during the LEGO FLL and LEGO FLL Jr competition. PAPO helped these teams become so successful by providing 1:1 equipment.

PAPO has purchased many other items for our IT program, but it feels important to mention that they purchased the camera, tripod and other equipment needed for the weekly PA Broadcast. This student led news program was a great opportunity for students to share information with the school community and practice being filmed.

PAPO has also purchased the sound system in the gym. All the teachers agreed that it has made a world of difference to have a quality sound system in the gym. It’s now much easier to set up and run assemblies, practice for the school musical and host large events like Chinese New Year and the talent show.

We are also extremely grateful for the extent to which PAPO has invested in literacy at PA. Mrs. Powell strongly believes that PAPO is a group of people who are committed to enriching our literacy programs. They have invested thousands of dollars into our school library and purchased all the beautiful furniture when the space was redesigned a few years ago. Most recently, they are giving each homeroom elementary teacher $600 for classroom library books for next year. Teachers were so excited to receive this news and I’m sure the students will be equally excited to see so many high quality books available to them in their classroom libraries next fall. Thank you also for the money that has gone towards enhancing our guided reading program.

PAPO has invested in many other areas beyond the arts, technology and literacy. To name a few – our school bus, a JK and K playground, French materials, presentations and field trips, light tables and Wipe Books. 

We are also very indebted to PAPO for putting on the Gala fundraising event each year. Many of the items mentioned above are funded by monies raised at the Gala event. PAPO also puts on Santa’s Breakfast each year. Every year without fail, the event runs so smoothly and is a wonderful kick off to the holiday season. In years past, they have also organized our Chinese New Year celebrations which is always a memorable event. 

I would like to take a moment to thank the 2019-2020 PAPO Executive by name – Ellie Tan Cheng, Ella Chen, Jessee Liu, Carol Liu, Elyza De Guzman, and Branny Bian. Special thanks to some other parents that have worked very closely with PAPO executives as well – Simon Lai, Alison Spriggs, Ly Duong, Phil Tam, Sunan Spriggs, Elaine Fung, Val Zhang, and Suzanne Widjaja. Thank you so much for the time you have invested into our school, your unflagging enthusiasm and your commitment to further enhancing every facet of Pythagoras Academy. 

Thank you to all other parents who have helped volunteer during PAPO events and supported our school in so many different ways.

Thank you for your time.

Ms. Janis Severloh
Vice Principle of Pythagoras Academy