Patriot Pride Makes First Gift
Patriot Pride, the grassroots effort to rally community support for Pinecrest High School, has raised about $110,000.
About 440 supporters attended a fundraising dinner and auction Feb. 24 in Pinehurst.
"This was surprising," said Dr. David Bruton, one of the group's founding members. "The whole thing from beginning to end has just been a smashing success."
On Monday, the group made its first donation to the high school by giving 150 flash drives -- a removable data storage device that can be plugged into a computer -- to all faculty members. The Pilot supplied the lanyards for the flash drives.
"This was an immediate way we could make an impact," said group member Mike Martin. "The teachers were very pleased from what I could tell."
Pinecrest Assistant Principal Keith Davies said the gift is going to make life a little bit easier for the teachers.
"It was fabulous," Davies said. "Each teacher can save a lot of data on the drives. It's both a thoughtful and excellent first step."
Those flash drives were just one of the items on the Pinecrest teachers' wish list. Teachers turned in a list of items that state funding does not provide to Davies before the fundraising dinner. Those include furniture replacement, new bathrooms, computers, new dictionaries, and various sports facilities renovations and improvements.
"We don't want to get involved in trying to raise money for stuff that ought to be regularly funded by a normal school program," Bruton said. "We want to do the stuff that the school has difficulty doing without outside help."
Davies said teachers were anxious to see how the money is going to improve the school.
"The fact that somebody's really going to take care of those things," Davies said, "is pretty exciting to folks around here."
Patriot Pride leaders said they were overwhelmed at the show of community support at the fundraising dinner. There were more than 115 donors for the silent auction items. Live auction items included a New York Yankees baseball weekend, Lasik eye surgery and a golf flag autographed by Tiger Woods. Outback Steakhouse and Golden Corral provided the dinner free of charge.
"The story this program tells is how generous the community is," Bruton said, "and how willing to support the school the parents and the community are."
The dinner and auction, held at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst, was the first formal event staged by the group since it formed in December. Bruton said the group couldn't accommodate 30 supporters at the event because of space constraints.
"We had to go back to corporate sponsors who bought a table of eight or ten," he said, "and asked them to give us back tickets they weren't going to use."
Bruton said the group plans to start supporting arts programs and extra-curricular activities like the debate team in the near future. He also said they are looking into forming a better-connected alumni association and database. Members also have been discussing a away to develop an incentive or rewards program for teachers and students.
"There has been an enthusiastic feeling," Bruton said, "and there was a feeling of, 'We need to keep this up, we've got something so good started.'"
Katherine Evans can be reached at 693-2480 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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