Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Pancakes for paper May 13, 2011

MY KNEE JERK REACTION went something like this: I pay taxes and now the school is hosting a pancake breakfast to buy “needed supplies.”

Because things aren’t always as they seem, I called Faribault High School to inquire about the Pancake Breakfast flier which was mailed to me on Thursday along with my son’s mid-quarter grades and information about ordering a $75 high school yearbook.

When the woman who answered the phone couldn’t help, she transferred me to Assistant Principal Dennis Germann’s voicemail. He explained everything to me in two return phone calls and now I feel much better and more informed.

Faribault Masonic Lodge #9 and Faribault Eagles Club #1460 are teaming up to raise monies for school supplies for students at FHS. Notebooks, inexpensive calculators, paper, project supplies, etc. will be given to students who can’t afford to purchase those basics, Germann told me. He added that nearly 50 percent of FHS students qualify for free or reduced school lunches. Translate that into families that could use some extra help with school expenses. The United Way has provided some assistance in the past with school supplies.

Germann welcomes the monies that will be raised at the Sunday, May 15, Pancake Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Faribault Eagles Club. Cost of the breakfast, which includes all you can eat pancakes with a serving of sausage and eggs and milk, coffee or juice, is $7 for adults, $5 for students and free for those five and under.

It’s the first time apparently that the high school has been selected as the recipient of this Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. That’s why the flier caught me by surprise and I really didn’t understand the definition of “needed supplies.”

As the parent of a high schooler, and two FHS graduates, I’m happy to see secondary students benefiting from a fundraiser like this. Typically the focus is on elementary age kids. I know how quickly costs add up to buy school supplies for a teen. Last year, if I remember correctly, I forked out $100 for some fancy schmancy calculator my son needed for a math class. Students won’t get fancy calculators like that through this program (I think the school has some available to borrow). But at least they’ll get basic school supplies.

So much has changed in the decades since I graduated from high school and we really only needed 3-subject notebooks, pens, pencils, folders and loose leaf paper.

Now it’s way beyond paper, to needing computers and internet access at home. I bet many families out there can’t afford internet service. Thankfully free internet is available at the public library. But it isn’t always easy for students to get there when they need to do online research.

I wonder also about the cost of class field trips, if some students can’t afford even basic school supplies. I recently wrote a $27 check for my son to go on a field trip to the Science Museum to view the King Tut exhibit. I gave him another $15 for lunch, which even he told me was expensive. How do families with already stretched budgets manage these additional costs?

We shouldn’t need pancake breakfast fundraisers to supplement the cost of education. But we all know times are tough. So thanks, Eagles and Masons, for doing your part to organize this event that will help Faribault families.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

2 Responses to “Pancakes for paper”

  1. Bernie Says:

    I like that if something catches you by surprise or off guard, you call and ask about it. Most folks would either ignore the flier or just complain. You actually got to the root of it. Are you going to the breakfast?

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I’m kind of that way, pretty darned nosy. Ask my kids. Ask my husband. Ask the rest of my family. If I want information, I typically will ask or research.

      About the pancake breakfast…, I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater and I really do not like pancakes unless they are loaded with blueberries or chocolate chips. When I was a kid, we went to an annual pancake feed at the armory in Redwood Falls. The place was crowded and didn’t smell all that good. To this day I hate the smell of pancakes. So, no, I’m not attending the breakfast, which I suppose makes me a hypocrite of sorts for promoting it.


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