The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 27, 2013

Persons of the Week: Student support: Westmont event provides funds for activities

Frank Sojak
fsojak@tribdem.com

JOHNSTOWN — A parent organization at the Westmont Hilltop Middle School is always hunting for ways to help students.

On Nov. 9, parents from the Hilltop Action Team have scheduled their fourth annual Adults’ Night Out Scavenger Hunt.

The hunt begins at 6 p.m. at The Grove, 1000 Edgehill Drive in Westmont. It will end at The Grove about two hours later, where it will be followed by a potluck dinner, basket raffle, drawings and entertainment. The evening is BYOB.

The event is open to everyone 21 or older.

“The proceeds of this event will allow HAT to continue its long tradition of providing educational, interesting and affordable extracurricular activities and field trips for our students while promoting community involvement,” said Deb Winterscheidt, one of the organizers.

“We have raised approximately $1,400 in each of the past three years to help offset the costs of our annual eighth-grade field trip to Washington, and the end-of-year eighth-grade graduation celebration.

“The costs for both of these events are wholly subsidized by HAT, with no cost to the school district.”

The scavenger hunt encompasses the Westmont Hilltop area and city of Johnstown,

Winterscheidt said.

Teams will have two hours to collect or photograph items that are on their task sheet.

With budgetary constraints facing all school districts, it’s important for parent organizations to fill the void by pitching in financially, Winterscheidt said.

Winterscheidt, who has had children in the school district for the past 19 years, said she loves the scavenger hunt.

Mali Gardill, another organizer, said they are getting some great donations from the community.

It’s good to be involved in the school where your children attend, she said about why she is active with HAT.

“You get to know other parents and the teachers,” she said. “I think it’s important to show the children that you are involved in their education.”

Gardill said the scavenger hunt is a great way for parents to have a good time while helping their children.

She said the school district is a good one and that HAT is working to complement that work.

Laurie-jo Zentkovich, chairwoman of the event, said the event brings the community together.

Businesses make donations to support the event and allow the teams to hunt for items at their stores.

The teachers and administrators get involved by either participating in the scavenger hunt or by donating beautiful gift baskets, she said.

The parents also have to be complimented for their unending support, she said.

HAT works throughout the year to help provide field trips to middle school students and holds a Super Fun Day at the end of the year.

For their efforts, the three, all West Hills residents, are the Persons of the Week.

Westmont Superintendent Susan J. Anderson said HAT plans multiple activities for entire families to link more closely to the school, to become actively involved in the educational process and to join with other families for camaraderie and fun.

“Parents involved in HAT are tireless in their endeavors to link families and fun in every creative way that they can imagine,” Anderson said.

“We are grateful for these Persons of the Week and for the huge support base of parents who sustain them.”

The cost for a team of up to four people to participate in the hunt is $50.

 General admission entry starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $10 a person.

To register for the event or for more information, call 255-3612, send an email to whmshat@gmail.com or visit http://www.whsd.org/uploaded/HAT/SH_-_2013_Registration.pdf.

Tribune-Democrat editors select a Person of the Week from nominations made by readers. To nominate someone, call 532-5058, 24 hours a day.