Northwest PTSO president talks Fund the Viking Voyage fundraiser and more


Northwest PTSO president Kelly Parsons smiles for a picture prior to the monthly PTSO board meeting. The PTSO at Northwest is currently running the Fund the Viking Voyage fundraiser in order to raise additional funding for the school's resource needs.

Northwest Guilford High School has a plentiful group of busy hands that constantly work behind the scenes to enhance the experience of students, parents and teachers within the Northwest community. These hands include those of teachers, janitors, administrators, coaches and the members of Northwest’s PTSO.

The PTSO, or Parent Teacher Student Organization, at Northwest works in conjunction with the school to provide various opportunities and events for the community, and at the head of it all is PTSO President Kelly Parsons.

“We are the group at Northwest that helps bring all the extras to our school,“ Parsons said. “We help to provide additional resources and we help in any way we can to enhance our students’ educational experience. We do what we can to help support our staff as well.”

As a mother of three, Parsons is no stranger to being actively involved in the schools that her children attend.

“I have been involved in [my children’s] schooling since they were very young, and this involvement has continued throughout their educations,” Parsons said. “Over time, I began to see areas where I could be involved with the school and make use of some of my past career experience.”

Parsons has previously worked in human resources and operations management, enabling her to have a varied experience in interacting with others and doing marketing work. This experiences allows Parsons to improve the outreach of the PTSO.

“One of the things I’m proudest of during the time that I’ve been at Northwest is the fact that we have been able to become the main communication source for parents,” Parsons said. “We have taken our newsletter from being just a copied paper that used to get mailed or sent home in students’ backpacks and made it an electronic source of information that people can go back and refer to over and over again. We have also expanded our reach in the social media world, but I feel like these are all areas that will continue to evolve and grow over time. I’m happy that we were able to put those into play during the years that I’ve been involved here.”

The PTSO plays a role in many fundraisers and events around Northwest. Right now, the organization is focusing on raising additional funds for the school.

“Right now one of our biggest projects would be our Fund the Viking Voyage, it is a no-fuss fundraiser that we’re doing,” Parsons said. “The need for the fundraiser really comes from the fact that while we are one the largest high schools [in our area], there are a lot of areas where our budget is not sufficient to address resources that we cannot fund. Updating computer equipment, updating instruments in the labs and providing additional ATV equipment throughout the school are all areas that we continued to notice were deficient in the school, and so we tried to figure out a way that we could help bring this need to the attention of the families of Northwest, in hopes that we could raise some additional money to help bring those things to the school.”

The PTSO works on many other projects as well.

“[The PTSO] helps run all the senior activities,” Parsons said. “This year that means planning the senior picnic and doing the hypnotist show that’s popular at the end of the school year. We do a lot of work with our school mini-grants program, which is just another funding source for our teachers to ask for specific project materials to be funded in their classrooms.”

Parsons’ role as president requires a lot of time and effort.

“I work quite a bit for the school, whether I’m here at school or I’m at home. I spend at least a couple hours every day working on things,” Parsons said.

Parsons has enjoyed her time spent with the Northwest PTSO, which began seven years ago when her oldest daughter was a freshman, and the work does not go without reward.

“I’ve had so much fun over the years getting to know all of my children’s classmates and the families at Northwest,” Parsons said. “I have enjoyed the collaboration and the comradery that I’ve had with the families and students that I’ve gotten to know. I have enjoyed doing that and working with students, parents, administrators and teachers for many years.”

Parsons does however have a few fears for the future of Northwest’s PTSO.

“My concern is that my youngest child is a junior, so next year he and I will be graduating,” Parsons said. “We always like to look ahead and think about who’s coming next and who can help out. I want to try and foster the interest in the PTSO in some of the parents that have students that are freshmen and sophomores, and show them that there’s a place to be involved in at Northwest and that parents are welcome to be part of the school experience. Volunteers are needed in so many areas at the high school.”

Thanks to Parsons and the work of many others in the PTSO, students and teachers alike are able to reap the benefits of having such an involved organization.