"We're all in this together" has really been a well-lived mantra within the Sycamore community and the SHS PTO this year.
When the pandemic shut everything down last spring, the Aves Hangar Bookstore + Spirit Shop lost a solid two months of sales. Sales from the Aves Hangar fund the largest portion of funds raised annually by the PTO. With no end in sight to reopen the physical store, the PTO Board quickly pivoted to setting up an online store for the Aves Hangar.
Opening an online store to better serve the entire Sycamore community was in the works prior to the pandemic, but needed to be achieved quickly. By July, the online store was up and running and PTO volunteers were filling orders and delivering them free of charge within the District.
Although the Aves Hangar's overall sales have decreased this year as compared to previous years, the online store has been quite successful.
"The Sycamore community has overwhelmingly supported the Aves Hangar online store," says Carrie Dippold, who serves on the PTO Board as VP of the Aves Hangar. "Just last week, we hit 1,000 online orders, and our PTO volunteers have delivered about 60% of those.” More technology upgrades are also coming to the physical store in the next few weeks, including acceptance of Apple Pay and full web and physical store integration.
In addition to all the work with the Aves Hangar, the PTO has continued to present meaningful virtual programming for members and support the staff with appreciation treats like coffee trucks. Membership was also made complimentary this year.
Funds from Aves Hangar sales over the past few years, combined with the PTO Board’s wise financial management, culminated into a "cushion" of funds. This cushion became a real lifesaver this year, allowing the PTO to continue to fund high school projects, and also other projects within the District and for partner organizations like Sycamore Bridges and Operation Giveback.
We'd like to acknowledge the PTO Board, as well as our members and volunteers. Without missing a beat, the PTO funded more than $30,000 in projects and programs this year, through their collective creativity, use of technology, and being "in it" together.
2020-21 SHS Board
Co-President - Karen Ronningen
Co-President - Alissa Simms
Treasurer - Amy Courtney
Vice President of Operations - Michelle Neat
Vice President of the Aves Hangar - Carrie Dippold
Recording Secretary - Karen Wolter
Corresponding Secretary - Sarah Baker
For more information about the SHS PTO, visit sycamoreschools.org/domain/833.