Founder’s Day, March 7 (Get your tickets today!)

Join the PTAs as they recognize and celebrate this year’s award recipients who are selected for their unwavering commitment to the children of the district.

The BH-BL PTA annual Founder’s Day Dinner is Thursday, March 7 at 5 p..m. at the Courtyard by Marriott in Saratoga Springs. Tickets are $60/person and can be purchased at any BH-BL school or Mail N’ More.

Thank you and congratulations to the 2024 NYS PTA Honorary Life Membership award winners:

  • Special Education PTA: Sue Kudlacik (staff) & Jill Flinton (volunteer)
  • Stevens Elementary School: Diane Clary (staff) & Mary Lawrence (volunteer)
  • Pashley Elementary School: Megan Christiansen (staff) & Jennifer Ravalli (volunteer)
  • Charlton Heights Elementary School: Erin Jankowski (staff) & Jennifer Durocher (volunteer)
  • O’Rourke Middle School: Nancy Hyde (staff) & Dave Barclay (volunteer)
  • BH-BL High School: Tara LaMalfa (staff)

What is Founder’s Day?

You’ve likely heard the words “Founder’s Day” and seen the event’s dinner listed on the district’s printed calendar, but have you ever wondered: “What exactly 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.

BH-BL Founders’ Day History

What has been learned perusing BH-BL’s historical records is that presenting Founder’s Day awards dates back to at least 1939 when Miss Edith Livingston, a BH-BL teacher, was a recipient of the award. The next known award recipient was BH-BL teacher Miss Gertrude Rice in 1948. (See photo below.) It is speculated that the gap in years in recognizing others is due in large part to World War II. (Visit this webpage to view a list of ALL BH-BL’s Founder’s Day award recipients.)

Founder’s Day award recipients can be either volunteers or staff with the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools. They are recognized for their years of service and their notable dedication “above and beyond” the usual to the needs of local students and families.

If you would like to be a part of creating history at BH-BL, we encourage you to not only get involved in your child’s school PTA but to consider nominating others for this honorable award. Typically in November the PTAs begin seeking nominations–and now you know what Founder’s Day is all about.