Southampton school employees to be feted with gala

Published 11:03 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

COURTLAND—Southampton County Public School employees will be treated to a Christmas party that won’t cost taxpayers a cent.

Donations of food and cash will fund the first-ever Holiday Gala, the brainchild of new Superintendent Dr. Alvera Parrish. Roughly 300 are expected for the Friday, Dec. 14, party at the Paul D. Camp Community College Regional Workforce Development Center in Franklin.

“We have pulled together our partners and we have reached out to them,” Parrish said Tuesday. “We haven’t been able to provide our teachers with any raises in about four years and we’re constantly adding more rigor to everything. We are having to work harder because budgets are so tight.”

Among donors are Food Lion, Farm Fresh, Walmart, and T&A Repairs and Southern Sisters, both in Courtland.

“We do appreciate them and their commitment to Southampton County Public Schools,” Parrish said. “It’s something we’re trying this year. We really want it to be successful.”

The county Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department are also invited to the gala, which is being organized by a nine-member committee.

Committee member Rodney Brown, coordinator of instruction services, said it’s been a challenge.

“The superintendent had the vision, and the right people on board, and we made it happen,” Brown said. “We knew it would be a challenge for us and local businesses. That’s what made it so amazing.”

The community has embraced the idea, noting contributions have come from “major partners to small business owners,” he said.

“We even have a subcommittee to generate thank-you letters,” Brown said.