Letter from the Co-Presidents – December 1, 2022

Dear Underwood Families,

Welcome to December!  We hope you had a restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend!  As your PTO co-presidents, we are always grateful to be a part of this special school community and we are so thankful for all we have been able to accomplish with your help this fall.  Thank you!  

Looking back to late October, we had two major events: our 1st Annual Trivia Night and our 4th Annual Fun Run.  We are thrilled to report that both events were great successes.  Our first-ever Trivia Night was held in the Underwood gym and hosted by the famous Gillette Stadium Announcer Mike Riley of Titan Trivia!  Mike did a fantastic job of engaging the kids (and adults) in several rounds of thought-provoking team trivia.  Turnout was great and we look forward to bringing you more events like this in the future.

Similarly, this year’s Fun Run was a huge success!  This event is always a favorite and the enthusiasm shown this year by our students, families, and staff was no exception.  With your help, the PTO raised over $7,000 to support our missions.  Ms. Brown’s class led the pack in dollars raised ($1320) while Ms. Hull’s class was at the top of the leaderboard for participation rate.  Congrats to both classes!  We also would like to send a huge thank you to everyone who made this event a success, including our event co-chairs Kate Luethy, Joanne Wang, and Crislin Waldman. (Crislin also designed this year’s awesome t-shirts.)  Thank you also to all of our sponsors.  And, of course, a huge thank you to the day-of parent volunteers, without whom we could not have had the run.  

Moving on to November, we began the month with our 2nd Annual Camp Fair.  In addition to raising nearly $7,000, this year’s Camp Fair drew over 150 families!  Representatives from 26 different camps were present to speak with families and 10 additional camps provided paper flyers and information. 

November is a month of gratitude and giving.  On Tuesday, November 22nd, we showed our gratitude to the wonderful Underwood staff by stocking the staff room with snacks and drinks (many of which were generously donated by parents–thank you!) and collecting appreciation notes from students for teachers and staff.  The notes were hung on our gratitude tree in the staff room near the snacks.  We also had Card My Yard display a large sign at the main entrance reading “Thank You Underwood Educators.”  These efforts to show our gratitude were led by this year’s Teacher Appreciation Chairs, Heather Hanson and Nina Pun.  Thank you Heather and Nina!  The staff room looked absolutely fantastic.  We received comments such as “wow”  and “this is amazing” from Underwood staff.  

Finally, to wrap up November, thank you so much to everyone who donated to our Giving Day drive.  We raised over $3,000 which will go to our Annual Fund to support essential programs such as our Creative Arts & Sciences presentations, allocations to teachers and staff, and teacher appreciation efforts, among others. 

As we move into the holiday season, we also want to reiterate a message from Dr. Talukdar regarding our program for providing gift cards to Underwood families:

“The Underwood PTO has secured funds to purchase Target gift cards for families who qualify for financial assistance or are currently in financial need. Gift cards are meant to be used by parents/ caregivers and will be sent home in envelopes with the parent/caregiver name written on the front. . . .

Please reach out to Suriah Resende, our school social worker, at resendes@newton.k12.ma.us if you would like to receive a Target Gift Card.” We will end this lengthy update by saying that we are looking forward to the Gingerbread Decorating Party this Sunday 12/4 at 4 pm on Zoom.  If you purchased a gingerbread house kit from us–thank you!  Your kit should be going home with your child today or tomorrow.  If you did not purchase a kit and still want to participate,  you are welcome to purchase your own kit and join the zoom party. More details are below!  

All our best,

Margaret Silva and Maggie Elitt

PTO Co-Presidents