The school year that begins on Monday will be my fourth as an HPISD cafeteria volunteer. When I logged into the Highland Park High School PTA website to sign up for my usual shift — serving burgers, chicken strips, and fries alongside the beloved Dr. Moody Alexander on third Thursdays — I was a little shocked by what I found.
With only five days until classes start, there were 11 openings across the Thursday schedule, including a position for a shift chairperson. Then I clicked through to the other days and was even more distressed.
The Tuesday schedule has 19 openings, including one shift chair. The Wednesday schedule has 14 openings, but at least all of the chair slots are filled. The Friday schedule, on the other hand, has only one such position taken.
In all, I counted more than 60 openings at the high school, including nine day chairs. The situation may be just as dire at the elementary schools, but their PTA sites were offline when I went looking.
Look, I know you’re busy. We all are. You think I don’t have a lot on my plate? I’m putting out three newspapers a week and trying to update three blogs every day, while raising two sons and being a loving, supporting husband, at the same time as I’m painting my house in preparation for putting it on the market, as I try to find time to get to the gym and maybe catch a few winks here and there. Yet even I can spend three hours of one day per month serving lunch to hungry teenagers.
And I don’t even have a kid at that school. I volunteer there in my capacity as Park Cities People’s goodwill ambassador. (Note to self: Get that title added to business card.) These are your children, folks. So sign up for a shift today.