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Sue Sherwood’s excitement is evident as she reflects on her nine years as a Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) board member. She says she started participating in the PTO when her oldest son, now an eighth grader, was in kindergarten nine years ago. As we chat, Sue admits that it’s become a vital part of her identity, laughing as she reveals she’s often identified as that lady from PTO.

By Barry Engelhardt

Sue has a strong passion for uniting community members toward a common goal. She considers finishing a school playground project as the highlight of her service to Momence’s youth. “It was a community build. We had teachers, staff members, parents, and volunteers, and all the PTO families build the playground. That was probably the most exciting thing.

We try to step up and spoil our teachers as often as we can, and the teachers really appreciate it.

The playground project started with a simple goal, a playground fund focused on replacing some individual parts on the equipment and purchasing some new mulch but ended in the style of a good old-fashioned barn raising.


Sue shares that the project grew in scope until the PTO replaced the full playground. The project took three years, countless fundraisers, and significant community involvement, but participating as a community made a lasting impact. Physically assembling a playground to be enjoyed by children for decades with her friends and neighbors was a time Sue will always remember fondly.


While the playground is grand in scale and easily noticed, she shares that she has participated in several projects throughout her tenure with PTO. In the past, the PTO has assisted with funding that provided math and science programs. At Momence, “we try to step up and spoil our teachers as often as we can, and the teachers really appreciate it,” shares Sue.


From a snow cone machine to new basketball hoops, the need is never fully satisfied, and community events such as coffee and donuts with Santa and cornhole tournaments help raise funds and awareness as the community rallies around their future. Sue suggests there are so many things the PTO helps with that it’s hard to remember even a fraction of the projects she’s been honored and privileged to have participated in.


While she admits her participation level has ‘been a lot of work,’ she quickly adds, ‘it’s been a lot of fun.’ She’s quick to point out that her participation level has been a personal choice that she’s made. She humbly shares that many before her paved the way and set the stage for her. She’s excited to continue to welcome a great group of future PTO leaders that she hopes will stay with her for years.


“We have a lot of moms that just come and hear what’s going on in the school. They don’t necessarily have much time to volunteer, but they can come and contribute their opinion on what they want to see in the school, and that’s great,” says Sue.


She adds, “You don’t have to come to PTO, volunteer for everything, and give your whole life to it. We just want you to be an involved parent here at the school.”

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