Variety show to help boost local education

FAIRMONT – Local talent will take center stage Thursday when Fairmont Partners in Education presents its 21st annual variety show.

A dozen acts will be featured during the program, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at the high school.

“This is just one of the events we do,” said Helen Gould, PIE board member.

The group also hosts the homecoming feed in the fall and publishes an alumni newsletter for Fairmont High School graduates.

“[The newsletter] is our biggest fundraiser,” Gould said. “You would be amazed.”

The recognition wall by the entrance to the Performing Arts Centers bears numerous plaques and memorials from donors.

“We’ve done very, very well with the alumni, but the variety show and homecoming feed lets people know what we’re about,” she said.

The show traditionally opens with Betty Egan’s fourth-grade class leading the singing of the national anthem.

Then, it’s time for the show.

“Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” is the title of a humorous speech by Zach Brown, “a consistent first-place winner” for Fairmont’s speech team, Gould said. The speech’s author is Stephen Pastis, creator of the comic strip “Pearls Before Swine.”

Briana Gratz will deliver her winning Voice of Democracy speech entitled, “Why I Am Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.”

The Fairmont Cardinal varsity cheerleaders will dance, as will a trio comprised of Drew Dettmer, Jordyn Strauser and Taylor Wolf.

The senior high jazz band, under the direction of Kate Kallenbach, will entertain, and the high school orchestra, under the direction of Judy Berkeland, will play a medley from “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”

Other instrumental numbers include Antonio Johnson on guitar and Emma Tunnell on saxophone, and a piano solo by Eric Head.

Other musical numbers include the fifth- and sixth-grade choir, under the direction of Molly Bleess, and “JB and the Dudes.” The elementary school staff will perform “Charlie Brown” by the Coasters, with Tony Rosener filling the title role.

PIE was organized on the centennial year of Fairmont’s school district and has evolved from an alumni group to a collective of people who support local education.

Funds raised from the variety show, homecoming feed and alumni gifts are dispersed throughout the classes, with more than $120,000 granted since the group was formed.

This school year, pieces of the PIE donation were used for the Prairie Ecology Bus, SMART board games, iPads, cellos, meteorological field trip, music therapy and science technology.

Admission to the variety show is a suggested donation of $5 for adults, $3 for students or $10 per family.