Our 2008 California State PTA Convention in Long Beach was very successful. Seventeenth District PTA is well represented on the State PTA board, so we were all “working” at our convention. Seventeenth District PTA also had seven delegates in attendance, including one delegate who was also a convention exhibitor!
Colleen You, CAPTA Vice President of Parent Involvement; Deborah Kemper, 17th District President and Communications Commissioner; Douglas Bell, State PTA Student Representative; and Kathryn Cross, State PTA Communicator Editor all taught workshops, convened workshops, packed convention tote bags, participated in the resolutions committee hearings, and served as an assistant site manager, to make the 2008 convention a success.
Convention kicked off with a celebration at the Aquarium of the Pacific on the first night of convention. Dinner (BBQ!), awesome aquarium tours, and lots of dancing started convention for the approximately 5,500+ convention participants.
Our convention guest speakers were Jack O’Connell, Superintendent of Public Instruction; Dr. David Long, Secretary of Education; Jan Domene, National PTA President and Past California State PTA President; Craig Scott, “Rachel’s Challenge: A Story of Inspiration, Courage, and Kindness” about his sister Rachel Scott, killed at Columbine High, and the foundation set up to work with schools to continue her challenge to “start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion”; Lewis Chappelear, 2008 California Teacher of the Year; and Erin Gruwell, Educator and Catalyst for Change (portrayed in the film “Freedom Writers” by Hilary Swank).
Lori McBride, one of our delegates, will provide write-ups about some of these speakers’ presentations and also some of the sessions she attended in future Seventeena issues and on the website.
Our 2007-2008 State PTA membership total was announced: 954,963 PTA members, and the challenge to every unit, council, and district for 2008-09 is three more members than last year. Our 2008-09 membership theme is “A Million Voices for Children.”
Reflections Program artists, dancers, musicians and writers were featured at the general meetings. From 17th District, we had Jordana Cahen, Brewer Island Elem. PTA, SM-FC Council, receive an Award of Excellence, so her artwork will go on to National PTA! Congratulations to Jordana! Our Award of Merit recipient from 17th District was Candace Tsai, Foster City Elem. PTA, SM-FC Council, for dance. The Convention display included a photograph from Avery Lang, Audubon Elem. PTA, SM-FC Council. The Reflections theme for 2008-09 is “Wow!”
Five resolutions were adopted at the general meetings. You can see them as well as photos from Convention on the State PTA website.
Next year our State PTA Convention will be held in San Jose from April 30 to May 3, 2009. 17th District is one of the convention hosts in San Jose, and we will be asking for convention volunteers as well as encouraging delegate participation from our district PTAs. Save the dates and plan your budgets for the 2009 convention! See our Convention page for more details.
–Kathryn Cross, 17th District Vice President for Programs & Convention