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PTA prepares for new school year

Tori Campbell, left, and Kennedy Carlson, pick out books at the Century PTA Spring Book Fair. (Submitted photo)

Century Parent Teacher Association is ready to start a new school year and kick off its major fundraiser.

The PTA at Park Rapids Area Century School organizes many events throughout the school year for grades K-8. Co-president Rhonda Lageson said the majority of the funding for events and other activities comes from a catalog sale each fall.

"It's all about the kids and making sure they're getting the best education they can get," she said.

The PTA meets once a month and new members are always welcome, Lageson said. This year's first meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the teacher's lounge at Century School. The time and place for the rest of the year's meetings will be determined then.

PTA projects completed during the 2008-09 school year covered a wide range of events and donations.

One of the highlights was the back to school dance. Admission to the dance is a donated school supply for the PTA's supply closet.

Lageson explained that the PTA has a supply closet that is used for teachers who might need extra glue sticks or kids who might come in and need pencils.

"Teacher budgets have been cut over the years and this way they might not have to buy supplies out of their own pockets," she said.

This year's back to school family dance for grades K-8 is called "Panther World Tour" and is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11 at the Century School gymnasium.

Parents and students are invited to learn about co-curricular activities at the school. A DJ and dancing are also part of the event.

Students are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite Panther athletic attire.

Another large event sponsored by the PTA each year is the Halloween Festival. In 2008, Lageson said about 525 kids attended.

The PTA sponsors two book fairs: one in the fall and one in the spring. They also sponsor Bingo for Books. Getting kids to enjoy reading is a goal of the PTA.

The Accelerated Reader program is given a donation for the awards ceremony by the PTA.

The PTA wasn't always able to sponsor this many events and donate to so many groups.

"This group has grown by leaps and bounds since it started," Lageson said.

She said it shows that the community wants kids to have these opportunities.

"The community has been so good and the money really adds up," she said.

Another highlight is the holiday shopping event each December where kids can find presents for family members.

Field trips for each of the grades are possible because of donations from the PTA.

Also, kids who can't afford milk for a snack in first through third grade are able to get help from PTA funding.

Many other classroom donations and volunteer hours are provided by the PTA.

"It's been really fun to watch how we've grown as a group," Lageson said. "A lot of districts don't have a group like this."