Patch Elementary School Release
Blue skies and bright sunshine were not the only things people celebrated this past weekend. On Saturday, at the 59th Annual European Parent Teacher Association (EPTA) Convention held at the Edelweiss Lodge in Garmisch, Germany, the EPTA honored the Patch Elementary School (PES) PTA with two awards. The first award, EPTA Unit of the Year, went to the PES PTA for its successful implementation of WatchDOGS, a National Center for Fathering program that encourages fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers and other father figures to volunteer at least one day a year to help out with school activities.
Patch Elementary was the first DODEA school to establish WatchDOGS. To launch the program, John Sanders worked with the PES administration and registered the school with WatchDOGS. In the fall of 2016, Sanders also organized a kickoff event for fathers to attend. Nine months after introducing the program, over 80 fathers have volunteered to spend a day at Patch Elementary, logging more than 550 volunteer hours.
The success of the program can be seen in the ‘Wall of Fame’ – a bulletin board in the school hallway with photos of smiling WatchDOGS and their kids. For the fathers that have volunteered, one hundred percent have said that they will do it again. PES teachers have also seen the benefits of the program. Suzanne Boggs, a special education teacher at Patch Elementary, believes that the WatchDOGS “positive attitude encourages the children to take risks and attempt tasks they might be reluctant to try otherwise.” Most importantly, however, the children at PES have enjoyed having the WatchDOGS at their school, particularly at recess when the dads have been able to show off their mad kickball skills.
Along with Unit of the Year, the European PTA also awarded a second award to the PES PTA. The EPTA Volunteer of the Year award went to Kristin DeLuca, who was President of the PES PTA from 2015-2017. During her time as President, DeLuca helped oversee a variety of events and programs from Fall Festival to Dr. Seuss Night, as well as the WatchDOGS program.
At the EPTA’s award ceremony, DeLuca was recognized for her leadership, dedication and teamwork and spoke briefly on her experiences with the PES PTA. In explaining why she decided to step up to become PES PTA President, DeLuca described attending the same award ceremony a couple years earlier. “Brianna Hester from Ramstein got up to accept this same award. She spoke about being active-duty and being a PTA president. She said something that resonated with me and that still pops up in my mind, ‘If not me, then who?’ I think many of us here tonight can identify with that statement. Someone has to do these unpaid jobs. We’re all here because we want to make a difference for our children, for all children. What would our schools be like without people like us, people who saw a need and said, ‘yes, I will help.’”
DeLuca is married to Sean Frerking, a Foreign Area Officer at AFRICOM. In January of 2014, they moved to Germany with their two kids, Rafferty (8) and Shoshanna (15). Although DeLuca is passing the PES PTA President’s reins to Kristin Cobb, she will still be on the PES PTA Board as Vice President of Fundraising, as well as Vice President for Legislation for the European PTA.
Congratulations to both the Patch Elementary PTA, as well as Kristin DeLuca, for being honored by the EPTA and for the hard work and commitment all members have put into the PTA this year!
For more information on how to get involved with either the PES PTA or the PES WatchDOGS program, contact the PES PTA at email@example.com or follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/PatchelementaryPTA.