PTA Council Leaves Its Mark with Pave a Path Fundraiser


Lauren Pignataro

The Lynbrook Council of PTAs has started a brick campaign fundraiser to raise money for senior scholarships.

The Lynbrook Council of PTAs is “paving a path” towards a brighter future for all K-12 students in the community. In its latest fundraiser, the Council sold more than 600 engraved bricks, purchased and personalized by students, families, teachers, administrators, local businesses, and alumni of the Lynbrook schools. Treasurer Mary Beth Stalter introduced the idea to the PTA last fall, when the Council struggled to formulate fundraising ideas amidst the pandemic. 

The Council’s largest annual fundraising event has been the homecoming football game for many years, which typically raises $10,000 to $15,000 annually through food-vending, ticket sales, and merchandising of Lynbrook apparel. The profits from the game, along with those from other smaller-scale scholarship events, are placed in the PTA Scholarship Fund, which is later awarded to graduating seniors elected by the LHS guidance department for outstanding merit. Over the past decade, the PTA Council has bestowed more than $150,000 in scholarship money, aiding dozens of students entering college.

“It was important to the PTA Council to ensure that our tradition of awarding seniors continued despite the inability to raise funds at a scholarship game,” said Council Co-President Lauren Pignataro. The Council recognized a need to adapt to the circumstances; then, inspiration for the Pave a Path fundraiser struck Stalter when she saw a similar event take place at Grant Park. “The Council and I approached Dr. Burak and the Board of Education with our idea for this event, and they loved it,” Stalter said. “We very quickly began brainstorming locations for the path and organizing the construction,” she added. 

Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak was the fundraiser’s first customer, and she was very enthusiastic. “I was thrilled that the PTA Council wanted to sponsor this fundraiser,” Burak said. “I knew it would be a grand success.” Burak added, “The brick path will be a wonderful component of the new high school addition. It is always nice to see the district and support groups combine efforts to create something special.”

Customers gained access to the store via Bricks R Us in early January, where they had the choice of purchasing two different sized bricks, 4×8 or 8×8, ranging from $100 to $300. Clip art and custom logos were also available to engrave on a brick, with the Lynbrook Owl mascot being, naturally, the most common choice. Several local philanthropy groups also branded their bricks with a logo, including the Morty Frank Foundation. In the coming weeks, donors will be recognized on all PTA social media platforms and listed in PTA newsletters; donors also have the option of purchasing a commemorative certificate to celebrate their purchase.

The Council had originally planned to conclude the fundraiser on Feb. 28, but there was so much demand from the community that they decided to extend the deadline to Mar. 31. The incredible turnout, raising over $80,000 in sales, was widely unexpected to the Council, as they advertised solely on social media and through word-of-mouth. This sum is enough to fund several years of senior scholarships and will be distributed to many future graduates.

“The Pave a Path initiative is an exceptional way to demonstrate the heart of the Lynbrook community coming together when it matters most,” said Lynbrook School District Director of Guidance Laurie Mitchell. “We are so grateful to our LHS PTA for continuing the scholarships in this challenging year and for our meaningful community partnership,” added Mitchell.

Stalter explained that she was surprised to see many alumni, some of whom graduated as long as 60 years ago, donate to the fundraiser. “Our alumni donors who graduated in the 1960’s fondly recalled the wonderful times they had at LHS, many even meeting their spouses there,” Pignataro shared. “We are so glad that they will be able to literally cement their mark at the school.”

Stalter believes that now could not be a better time to promote unity among community members, as many have felt “disconnected” during the pandemic. “Especially with the renovation of the building,” Stalter said, “having a physical piece of Lynbrook history adorn the school will create an incredible legacy.”

The path will be paved on the left-hand side of the building, in a newly-renovated courtyard with a flagpole, upon completion of the building’s renovation in September. James Saitta, the district’s director of facilities, is continuing to work with the construction company to formulate a design for the path. “The timing of the construction project was perfect, and we are so grateful to the district for working with us, and especially to Mr. Saitta,” said Council Co-President Megan O’Donovan.

The Council has already begun to discuss reopening the website as construction progresses in order to create more opportunity for community members to purchase bricks. Approximately 100 more bricks will be available for purchase.

“For decades, Lynbrook has reaped the benefits of people who are passionate and supportive,” said Burak. “In the end, I believe people know there is one commonality amongst us – we strive to support our students in the best manner we can!”