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'All School Booster Club' gala March 29

Though it is well-established and has awarded tens of thousands of dollars to Perham-Dent school programs, there are still those who say "huh?" when the name "549 Family Foundation" is mentioned.

If the mission of the Foundation wasn't entirely clear before, it will become crystal clear in the coming years--as the Perham school system struggles to overcome budget cuts.

"All School Booster Club" is how director Jo Strege is now describing the 549 Family Foundation. After sitting through several difficult budget-cutting meetings, the light bulb went off.

"I really like the idea of presenting the 549 Family Foundation to the community as the 'All School Booster Club,'" said Strege. "It says something to people about what we are here for and why they should be supporting the foundation--because we're the district's Booster Club."

As an "All School Booster Club," the 549 Family Foundation helps finance projects and programs that are mostly "outside" of the school's general fund. Field trips, classroom equipment, special programs and presentations are among the activities that have benefitted from 549 grants.

The public will have an opportunity to learn more about the foundation on Saturday, March 29. The schedule: 5:30 social, 6:30 dinner (roast pork loin) and a 7 p.m. program.

The official name of the event is "The Honey Bee Gala - An Investment in Youth". This is the 4th annual spring event.

The 305-member 549 Family Foundation has received more than $430,000 since it was founded. Donations back to the school have exceeded $100,000.

The Foundation has been "boosting" the Perham-Dent schools with donations to virtually every facet of the school--from the science lab to the music room to the athletic fields.

Services described on the 549 website include:

----supplement funds from the state

----contribute to capital projects to enhance school facilities

----administer alumni events, fundraising events

----work together....strong schools, strong communities, strong future

Emcee for the "Honey Bee Gala" is student council president, David Tomporowski.

Entertainment includes:

The band "Bomb the Day" which consists of Luke Hofland (junior), John Carlson (senior), Mike Howey (senior), and Gus Rutten (senior).

Guitarists will be Scott Eickschen (sophomore) and Tony Guck (senior).

Soloist will be Sam Stoll (sophomore) accompanied by pianist Jenna Strege (junior).

The speaker is from the PHS Class of 1948, Bill Bauck.

Awards: Student Investment Awards, Community Investment Awards, and Teacher Investment Awards.

Criteria: Expanding their own learning and developing their own talents. Strong mentor for kids needing guidance and example. Works extensively for the betterment of education as a whole. Overcame personal or professional adversities. Strong volunteer or is active in our community area.

The student awards are selected by their teachers.

The community investment awards are selected by each school staff and also organizations. This year Rotary, Perham Lions and FOCUS have all selected members to be recognized.

The teacher investment awards are selected by each age group staff (K-4, 5-8 and 9-12). The three finalists in each age group for this award are:

*K-4 Deb Johnson, Marcia McEachran and Julie Vomacka

*5-8 Shelly Januszewski, Kitty Krueger and Peggy Rutten

*9-12 Scott Bjerke, Jeff Morris and Karen Zepper

Tickets are $25 for members, $35 for non-members. They are available at HOTL, PW and PHS school offices. Reserve tickets by calling 347-0549.

Foundation director Strege stressed appreciation for all the sponsors who continue to support the school--year after year.

More information about 549 Family Foundation can be found at or by calling 347-0549.

PHS grad from six decades ago to speak at 549 Gala

A Yellowjacket from the Class of 1948 will recount Perham High School's bygone days at the 4th annual 549 Family Foundation's "Honey Bee Gala" March 29.

Bill Bauck is the guest speaker, appropriate for the 2008 event, as he graduated exactly 60 years ago.

The Baucks have been a well-established business family in Perham for a century.

The event is at 5:30 p.m., March 29, at Mulligan's.

For ticket information, call the Perham-Dent school offices.