How does any type of educational institution serving young students function without the physical support of the parents? To the naked eye, it may not seem so necessary, but the role of a parents association cannot be overstated. In O’Neal’s 50 years, a parents association has served the School beginning in 1972, just one year after O’Neal opened its doors.
A sign of the times, in 1972 it was called “The Mothers’ Association”. As the tradition continues (when not mitigating a pandemic), the Parents Association(PA) hosts an annual Back to School Picnic for enrolled families. News clippings show that the some past picnics happened off-campus at places such as Pinehurst Lake. Today, the annual picnic is the largest attended event on campus every year.
Fundraising was a large aspect of the PA for many years. Gift wrap, the annual tag sale, flower sale, a one-time Boosterthon event in partnership with the School’s Booster Club have all been formidable revenue makers.
The PA was the longtime coordinator for “O’Nealopoly” – a reading competition in the Lower School where, with accumulated reading minutes, one advanced on the O’Nealopoly game board and was awarded a special activity pertaining to where the student landed. It was sometimes kicked off with a pancake breakfast and the parents coordinated all of the awarded activities.
Teacher appreciation has always been a function of the PA. In times of a pandemic, where the School has persevered with in-person learning, showing gratitude and support to O’Neal’s teachers is invaluable. Just recently, the PA combined its reading challenge efforts with fundraising and launched the annual “Readathon” for students. This revenue helps the PA with their teacher appreciation efforts, including lunches and treats throughout the year, as well student activities and recognition, like yard signs for O’Neal’s seniors.
Military Appreciation Day, student division holiday snacks, student snack packs for class trips, campus beautification and more are the product of The O’Neal School Parents Association.
Current O’Neal parents are all automatically members of PA and are invited to join The O’Neal School Parents’ Association Facebook group and attend the monthly meetings. Visit O’Neal’s PA page to learn more.
Falcons Fly to 50
O’Neal is excited to share its history with readers as it quickly nears its 50th year in educating and cultivating youth in becoming successful, effective contributors to communities large and small. The official celebration starts school year 2021/2022. This weekly blog will focus on different aspects of the School as it grew through the years. With every entry, there is just as much more information to gather than what is already written. Readers who have been a part of the O’Neal community are encouraged to reach out and share their O’Neal memories. It is with great hope that the efforts of many in contributing information and photography can be published into a book for reflection and reference as the School continues to prosper for the next 50 years.
Please send your memoirs and photos to:
The O’Neal School
c/o Kathy Taylor, Director of Communications
P.O. Box 290
Southern Pines, NC 28388