Taste of Trinity school tech fundraiser draws crowd

TRINITY — Seven Springs Middle School swarmed with more than just students and teachers last Saturday, as about 1,000 people turned out for the 2013 Taste of Trinity, lining up to pay for $5 wristbands to experience what the area has to offer.
The Parent Teacher Student Organization, spearheaded by Diana Jerome, organized the event and raised $12,000 for new classroom technology.
“You all have left me speechless,” Jerome wrote in an email to vendors following the event. “Words of gratitude can only try to express what your efforts today meant to our SSMS family.”
The Taste of Trinity is one of Pasco’s best-known food and business expo festivals, showcasing the diversity of Trinity’s dining and retail community through a fundraiser for the school. Nearly 80 retailers and organizations displayed their businesses and offered food to attendees.
Some parents who participated prefer the community event over more traditional school fundraisers, such as students being sent home with a catalogue of items to sell.
“We actually paid the $25 to opt out of the catalogue,” said Josh and Kelly Skwronski, parents of sixth-grader Jillian Ruffner. “This is well worth the $5 and it’s good to meet other people in the community.”
The idea for the event was born in 2008, when Jerome, president and event coordinator, and the board of the school’s PTSO, brainstormed ways to give back to their educational business partners in the community.
What they came up with was a community event with “lots of food, lots of vendors and entertainment,” Jerome said.
The money raised will go toward technology for the classroom, like iPads, document cameras and “student responders,” handheld devices that allow multiple students to answer questions asked by the teacher.
“Now, all 22 kids can answer a question instead of just one or two,” said Principal Chris Dunning. “It increases engagement and lets the teacher know if the students are getting the material.”
In addition to vendors filling up the cafeteria, gymnasium and several nearby walkways, stage performances were scheduled every half hour, including a set by the J.W. Mitchell High School jazz band.
The crowd even witnessed an impromptu dance-off between two friendly rivals, Dance Extreme Academy and Kelly’s Dance Academy.
“It just an amazing event,” Dunning said.
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