By Rob Cox Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG — On Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., the St. Mary’s Alumni and Friends Association (SMAFA) will hold its annual Chili Supper and Carnival at St. Mary’s Elementary School.
SMAFA corresponding secretary Susie Colson told the Daily News the 2014 edition will mark the event’s 19th year. It will also mark its second year in St. Mary’s new school, which opened in August 2012.
SMAFA itself, which consists of 12 board members and a multitude of donors and alumni, was founded in 1994; the first Chili Supper and Carnival was held in January 1995. The event has been a St. Mary’s mainstay ever since, Colson said.
In addition to chili, hotdogs are also served, along with drinks. The SMAFA Board prepares the chili itself, starting early on the morning of the event.
“We usually serve around 550 people,” Colson said. “We always stage this event as a kickoff for National Catholic Schools Week (NCSW), which this year starts the Monday after our chili supper and carnival.”
According to the website of the National Catholic Education Association (http://www.ncea.org), the 2014 NCSW runs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, Monday through Friday. According to the site, NCSW is an “annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States.” The event is typically observed by individual schools with special masses, open houses and other events for schools, churches and their communities.
The Carnival portion of the St. Mary’s event, according to Colson, is comprised of “13 games of skill,” including a basketball shoot, a duck pull, a Teddy bear toss, a root beer slide, a sucker pull, a milk jug toss, a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, a game of cornhole, putt-putt golf and others.
The price for the supper is $5 for adults and $3 for students or children. Game tickets are 50 cents each.
“Everyone who plays one of the games wins something,” Colson stressed. “Whether it’s a piece of candy or one of several small, assorted toys, everybody wins each time they play.”
The event also includes a “large raffle” and a silent auction, Colson added. Raffled items include cash, planters, lottery tickets, gift cards, home-crocheted blankets and other items.
As always, the event’s silent auction will include “class baskets,” which are compiled by each class at St. Mary’s.
“Each class, from pre-school through sixth grade, chooses a book to use as a theme,” Colson explained. “Parents then donate items for the baskets based on each book. The items are then put together into a basket and sold as part of the silent auction.”
SMAFA uses the proceeds from the annual event to “fund items that the school doesn’t have the budget for.”
“We try to supplement [their budget] and raise money to buy things they don’t have in their budget,” Colson said. “About six or seven years ago, for example, we bought new playground equipment for the school, which was moved to the new building when it opened in 2012.”
For the last few years, the group has mostly made technology-related purchases on behalf of the school. Colson believes that trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
We’re working on upgrading our technology – computers, laptops, iPads,” she said. “We’re trying to look into the future and keep up with other schools in regards to technology-based education; technology is so important to learning and education these days.”
In 2014, upgraded technology will mean updating computer systems to the latest software and hardware and purchasing additional laptops for kids who attend the school’s technology classes.
“We want every kid in one of our technology classes to have his or her own computer,” Colson said. “Basically, we want to make sure we maintain the same technology standards maintained by public schools, so that our kids don’t fall behind.”
Anyone in the community can donate and become part of SMAFA. “You don’t even need to be an alumnus,” Colson said. “Our president [Natalie Pumphrey] didn’t attend St. Mary’s, but her kids do.”
For more information on the St. Mary’s Alumni and Friends Association or how to get involved, call the school at 663-2804.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011; email@example.com