Co-Presidents Letter December 2017

Dear Zervas Parents and Guardians,

We hope you all are finding some time to relax in the middle of this crazy holiday season. As I write this, my kids are bemoaning the fact that the first snow storm of the season fell on a weekend. They can’t wait for a snow day.

Looking back, November had some pretty great Zervas events. We hope you caught one of the Variety Shows organized by Darlene Nedeljkovic and music teacher Ken Mignone. I was impressed as always by the bravery and talent of the young performers. Thank you, Ken and Darlene, for making the nights run smoothly.

One Zervas event that keeps getting bigger and better is the Newton Turkey Trot. Priya Wagner spearheads this huge undertaking and has a strong team to work with including Liz Beckett, Caterina Betancourt, Ken Danila, Tim O’Brien, Amy Penna, and Kyle Pond. Some of these folks don’t even have students at Zervas anymore but they still come back to help! Thanks also to the 30 people who volunteered on race day. This year 900 runners registered, which meant more money for the Newton Food Pantry, the beneficiary of the race. The Turkey Trot was able to donate $6,000 to the Food Pantry! Another amazing thing about the race is how many kids participate in either the One Mile Fun Run or the entire 5K. Very impressive showing for the Zervas students!

We need to thank Evrim Atas for organizing two important events recently. In November, she brought parents of students on Individual Education Plans together with Special Education teachers for coffee, pastries, and conversation. It was a terrific opportunity for parents to connect with each other and to meet the teachers that work with their children. Evrim also planned a luncheon for all teachers on December 5th to celebrate Inclusive Schools week. Thanks so much, Evrim.

This month, Sanskriti Singh has been busy showing the teachers how much we appreciate them! She and Kai Shanahan organized the teacher stipends that the PTO gives each December (no small task). And then Sanskriti also orchestrated the Holiday Cookie Swap and Luncheon for all the teacher and staff on the early release day. Thank you to everyone who baked a batch of cookies. The tables were covered with yummy-looking treats!

Speaking of the teachers and staff, they donated many exciting and interesting experiences for the students to try to win in the Teacher Raffle. The raffle raised $2,880, which will go towards supporting the Creative Arts and Science program. CAS brings high-quality, highly relevant and carefully planned arts and sciences programming to students at Zervas, including everything from owls to origami. A huge thank you to Alison Kapilow and Katie Britton for coordinating the raffle this year!

You have until December 15th to donate a new, unwrapped toy for a child (newborn to age 12) in need. Thank you to Amanda Zurick for organizing this drive for Toys for Tots. Toys for children 0-2 and 9-12 are especially needed, and you can drop them off in the Zervas lobby.  Amanda also helped run the UNICEF box drive for Halloween which raised over $1,148 for UNICEF’s emergency relief work.

Class parents have been organizing holiday gifts for the teachers and aides using the class dues collected at the beginning of the year. If you would like to acknowledge your child’s teacher individually, consider participating in the Zervas Library Winter Book Drive. You can purchase a title selected by librarian Rebecca Kinney and then donate it to the new library in honor of a teacher or staff member. Ms. Kinney will create a bookplate to put inside the cover acknowledging the Zervas staff member of your choice. Please use this link if you are interested.

And don’t forget to add Zervas as your Amazon Smile recipient if you are shopping online this season! There are instructions on our website for how to do it.

If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us at

Thank you,

Alicia Collins & Jenn Martin

PTO Co-Presidents


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