On March 24, BH-BL celebrated Founder’s Day 2022 with a dinner and award ceremony. At the annual event, BH-BL recognizes outstanding PTA members and staff who are chosen for this award because of their complete commitment to BH-BL through years of service and notable dedication that goes above and beyond the usual needs of BH-BL students and families.
At the dinner, Superintendent McGrath began by recognizing the community’s long history of giving back to the school district, and emphasized that it’s the hard work and involvement of everyone that makes BH-BL what it is today.
The very first BH-BL Founder’s Day award was presented in 1939 to teacher Miss Edith Livingston. Edith and all the deserving recipients of this important award over the years are permanently registered in the district’s historical records.
McGrath added that he’s proud to add this year’s 10 recipients to BH-BL’s history books.
- Mike Howard & Christine Malone, Pashley Elementary School
- Yvonne Puleski & Rachael Arno, Charlton Heights Elementary School
- Margaret Ostrom & Katie Iannacone, Stevens Elementary School
- Judy Dopel & Dave Cote, O’Rourke Middle School
- Jen Wheeler & Dave Cote, BH-BL High School
- Robert VanVranken, resident, Distinguished Service Award
A huge thank you is extended to the PTAs, and especially Joan LaBuff, for organizing the event. The annual ceremony wouldn’t be possible with them.
What is Founder’s Day?
To fully understand the significance and importance of Founder’s Day, you need a little background about the National PTA.
The National Parent Teacher Association was founded in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. They founded the organization when women did not have the right to vote and social activism was not popular. To their delight, however, on February 17, 1897, more than 2,000 people—mostly mothers, but also fathers, teachers, laborers and legislators—attended the first convocation of the National Congress of Mothers in Washington, D.C. (Twenty years later, 37 chartered state congresses existed.)
In 1926, Selena Sloan Butler formed the NCCPT to advocate for children, especially African American children in segregated communities.
Birney, Hearst, and Butler had a strong calling to work toward bettering the lives of every child in education, health, and safety. The two associations began holding their conventions in conjunction with one another and worked toward merging in all 50 states. On June 22, 1970, the two congresses signed a Declaration of Unification and officially became one association–-the National PTA. The unification of the two congresses is an important part of National PTA’s history and the association’s continued efforts to serve and make a difference for every child.
Founders’ Day (February 17) has become an important day for PTAs. It’s the day when PTAs around the country recognize the organization’s first convocation and celebrate the legacy and work of the organization’s founders—Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and Selena Sloan Butler.
According to the National PTA website: “The founders represented women of imagination and courage. They had a simple idea—to improve the lives and future of all children. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day, and took action to change the world for all children.”
And that is why PTAs annually present individuals who are completely dedicated to their school community with the organization’s highest award.