Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 | 6:38 p.m.
The school focuses on academics. Vanderburg Elementary School PTA President Dee Montano thinks the PTA should focus on family time.
For two hours the evening of Dec. 5, Vanderburg students and their parents got to do just that.
Owner of All Fired Up art studio Gail Schomisch and her employees were on site for the annual Winter Creations event. Students and their parents were able to choose from ceramic figurines, tiles, ornaments, plates and picture frames to paint together, ranging from $8 to $15 apiece.
“This wasn’t a fundraiser. We did everything at cost,” Montano said.
The PTA’s goal was to promote a night of family time, free of iPods, cell phones and Game Boys at a low cost.
“It can cost near $100 for a family of four to go to the movie theater together,” she said.
First grader Ethan Stroh and his mother, Alison, showed up to paint, even though Ethan is on track break.
“We wanted to come and do it. He is really into arts,” Alison Stroh said.
Many of the pieces available were geared toward the holidays, but there was also a selection of items that were not. Ethan chose a dog for himself and a cat for his mother to paint.
“We just saw the movie ‘Bolt,’” she said.
When an item was finished, the students and their family members placed them in brown paper bags labeled with their names and teachers’ names. The items will be taken back to Schomisch’s studio to be glazed and fired in a kiln before being returned to the students the week of Dec. 15.
Schomisch will also personalize the pieces upon request. Dates, names and “to” and “from” messages are the most requested personalizations.
“These are a great alternative to mall-bought gifts for the holidays,” she said.
Kindergartner Allison Lueck and her sister Campbell, 3, were each painting tiles for their grandparents for Christmas gifts.
“Their grandparents love it,” their father, Kevin Lueck, said.
“It’s also a nice creative activity to do,” said Kristen Lueck, their mother.
Third grader Gianna Ruiz and her mother, Toni, were there to spend some mother-daughter time together and start a holiday tradition.
“We want to paint an ornament together each year we can,” Toni Ruiz said.
Vanderburg did not host the event last year. Montano, who has been active in PTAs for 17 years, said so many parents requested it the PTA brought it back this year.
“We did a Santa Shop, but we decided this was a better idea and a better value,” she said.
The value of the items is not just monetary, according to Montano.
“I have 20 years worth of ornaments like the ones here, painted by my children, on my Christmas tree,” she said.
Diana Cox can be reached at 990-8183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.