What happened to the fired-up, earnest blogger writing posts about feelings, and cancer, and racism and cancer, and pets, and chiko rolls and miscarriage and let’s not forget, equality? Writing regularly, nearly always doing a post every weekend and publishing it on a Monday – the blogger loving interacting with her readers and feeling so bloody high on the feeling of having her words out there, floating free?
Well, she’s been touched by the hand of fete. Fete, with an e. For better or worse, I put my hand up to be the convenor of my boy’s school fete, and for the next couple of months until Saturday, August 20 rolls around, pretty much every spare moment of my day is given over to thinking, talking and doing about the fete.
Dave and I are pretty staunch supporters of public education. We are both products of the public system, and both now work in the system in different ways – Dave as a teacher in a state school, and me in a government-funded university. Our ideological principles mean that we chose for our son to attend the local public primary school, where he has been happily flourishing both academically and socially for the past few years. Hugh has had such positive experiences in our state school, thanks to wonderful, engaged and engaging teachers, committed support and specialist staff and forward-thinking school management.
The fact is, though, that public schools across Australia are underfunded. There are not always enough support or specialist staff, the facilities are often raggedy and old, and things that fall into the ‘would like to have’ basket stay there because there is only enough money to fund the stuff in the ‘must have’ basket. I find it irksome – in the extreme, actually – that private schools are funded from the public purse – that essentially our ‘would like to have’ basket remains full to overflowing with no hope of being emptied because government funding is paying for private school kids to get lots of ‘would like to have’ type stuff. I would have much less issue with public funding of private schools if public schools had all the resources that they need and want, but they do not, so I remain irked.
It’s all well and good to be irked, but it doesn’t actually lead to anything changing. So apart from supporting the public school system by working in it, using it, and voting for those who support it, there is one other thing I am doing to support free, quality education in Australia. Last year, I joined the P&C Association at my son’s school, and was immediately elected Vice-President, not just because of my impressive resume in people and resource management and my can-do attitude, but also because I was the only one who nominated. Our school is blessed to have a small group of highly motivated parents forming the P&C, and we decided late last year that we needed to undertake a single, large fundraiser to fill our coffers, which were (happily) depleted by assisting the school to put in two new multipurpose courts for the kids to play tennis, basketball, netball and volleyball.
As soon as the words ‘large fundraiser’ were uttered, I knew there had to be a fete, and as soon as I uttered the words ‘there has to be a fete’ I knew that I was going to be running it. Because the first rule of P&C:
So, instead of spending my lunch breaks and evenings and weekends contemplating my navel and crafting blog posts about how hard my navel was to find or how much my navel has changed since cancer or how neither chiko rolls nor dogs have navels, I am organising the school fete. My head is full of fun ideas like rides and cake stalls and dunk the teacher, and the not so fun stuff like asking for sponsors and learning about event insurance.
It has been a learning curve for me, finding out about how much hard work volunteering can be, but also how rewarding. People in our community are being very generous in their support of our school, but there is no doubt that fundraising for the type of money needed to make a significant difference in a large school is complex and challenging. But I’m determined, as are the other parents working on this Fete, that our kids will get some big-ticket ‘like to have’ things at their school to help them explore their interest in computer programming, or their love playing the double-bass or their aptitude for tennis. And to that end, we’ll continue to work our butts off in every spare moment to make this fete a rip-roaring success.
So, to those of you who had gotten used to at least semi-regular posting, apologies for what is likely to be intermittent action over the coming months. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one-boobed woman madly cross-checking a bunch of spreadsheets, door-knocking businesses and bossing about other unsuspecting other parents. In the meantime, if you’re an old hand at this fete gig, please, leave me a comment or send me a message with your tips and tricks. Oh, and if you happen to have a business local to Toowoomba and want a sweet deal on the sponsorship of a wonderful community event, step right this way … firstname.lastname@example.org