Hanover Public School District, in the same position as many school districts, brainstormed over the summer, trying to leave no stone unturned in looking for cost savings, said Supt. Al Moyer.
An idea “purely being investigated” was cutting back from having a musical and a play at both the middle and high schools, to having one at each, he said. Besides cost savings, the district was also looking at the idea of kids being stretched thin between multiple activities.
But the possibility concerned parents, including Brian Frederick, a father of three, one who is a junior at Hanover High School.
The schools’ theater programs have really taken off in the past couple of years, Frederick said.
“A bunch of parents said this is bad, we don’t want to cut the momentum,” he said. “We want the momentum to keep going.”
Frederick said that rather than yell at the board members, who are in a tough spot when it comes to budgets, he suggested forming a booster group for drama.
With Moyer’s blessing and parents’ support, PASTA — Parents Association Supporting Theater Arts — was born.
Frederick said the association has made an agreement with the district that, starting in 2013-14, the group will fund half of the stipend positions each year to have both a musical and a play at the middle and high schools.
For 2012-13, Frederick and Moyer said, teacher Deb Smith volunteered to forgo her stipends for the middle school play and musical.
About 50 parents are involved in the effort, Frederick said. They’ve planned fundraisers such as a zumba fundraiser, a December day where they’ll watch the kids while parents shop, a theater workshop, and more.
Last year, the high school won a Rosie for “Tommy.” This year, students will be putting on “The Little Mermaid” this fall and “Phantom of the Opera” in the spring.
Frederick said the schools are seeing more students audition and more attendance at the performances.
“It’s really taken off and we just didn’t want to see it get eliminated,” Frederick said.
Moyer noted that Frederick is also president of the athletic boosters, which the superintendent said is a “healthy, thriving” organization. That makes Moyer think the new group has a pretty good chance of being successful.
Fundraising is difficult in these economic times, Moyer said, but the PASTA group seems optimistic.
“We’re encouraged by their efforts, very appreciative of their efforts,” he said.
Interested in helping or supporting PASTA’s efforts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.