Friday, June 01, 2012
Ducks on the Pigg elude PTO;s top dogs
Fundraiser evokes memories of Lucy and Ethel on a candy assembly line.
Next week my youngest daughter will walk across an elementary school stage and shake her principal's hand. This not only will mark the end of her elementary school career, but the end of my Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) career as well.
I am proud to admit that I have been active in my kids' PTOs for about 10 years. I don't consider myself one of those "super moms." Over the past decade, I've witnessed some pretty amazing parents who have shown much more dedication and commitment to their child's school. And I'm blessed to have known them.
This school year when my daughter began fifth grade, I was given the lofty title of PTO co-president. With this elevated status came more responsibility. Between you and I, I was just glad I had someone with whom I could share the work. In fact, I was very glad the co-president was a friend of mine.
Looking back, my contribution seem quite insignificant. Most of my free time this past school year has been spent driving my kids to games and practices.
As we approached summer, the weight of my PTO responsibilities seemed heavier, and I grew anxious for my reign to end. As I checked off each day on my calendar, I noticed we had one last fundraiser for the school year, one last hurrah.
I decided that I had to end things strong, with a bang. This last fundraiser was called the Great Rubber Duck Race.
We had been chosen by Franklin County Parks and Recreation to hold this race after the Pigg River Ramble. Patrons could spend a dollar to have their name attached to a numbered rubber duck. We had 56 prizes to give to the first ducks that crossed the finish line. There were 1,387 rubber ducks in the race.
I arrived at Waid Park the day of the race prepared to sell as many rubber duck tickets as possible. After hours of sales, I believed I had succeeded.
Then it was time for the race. Still filled with dedication and determination, I decided to join the volunteers and my co-president in the Pigg River.
We had formulated a plan to capture the racing ducks. One parent would hold a large fishing net and a couple fifth-graders were to stretch a 12-foot net across part of the river, ready to back us up.
I carefully climbed into the icy water and balanced my bare feet on the slippery rocks.
It wasn't long before the first few rubber ducks poked their beaks around the corner of the river. The kids began to cheer. I waited ready to pounce on the rubber bath toys.
The winning ducks soon crossed the finish line and I snatched them up. This isn't so bad. I can handle this, I thought. Just as I began patting myself on the back, I looked up and realized more and more ducks were coming toward me.
Most of the kids behind me (the backups) cheered louder as the ducks began moving past us. I went into panic mode and scrambled to capture as many ducks as possible.
As I waded in the knee-high water without shoes, I realized a boat, or at least water shoes, would have been a good idea. The net we had stretched across the water let more than half of the ducks go underneath it, and I realized we should have brought something bigger and heavier.
After about 10 minutes my co-president and I admitted defeat and calculated that about 400 rubber ducks had escaped from our clutches that day. We looked at each other and laughed. We had done our best. And that was all we could do.
Next week, when my daughter graduates, I know her teachers will always remember her.
But I think many will never forget this last fundraiser. I know I won't.