PSF Teachers First Breakfast Celebrates 16th Year at Squid’s
Squids Restaurant and Oyster Bar isn’t normally known for its teeming early morning crowds, but on Friday, April 26, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools teachers and staff enjoyed a full, hot breakfast at the restaurant before they headed off to their classrooms and offices. Another 1,382 staff placed pre-orders for the “drive thru” line and received to-go orders of breakfast burritos, fresh fruit cups, muffins, yogurt and orange juice, many of which were prepared by School Board Vice-Chair, Mary Ann Wolf, as well as Public School Foundation’s former executive director, Kim Hoke.
This wildly popular parent-supported fundraiser for Public School Foundation (PSF) drew crowds of teachers lining up in the dark, outside Squid’s before the 6:00 a.m. opening time. Nearly three hours later, when the last steam table trays were scraped clean of scrambled eggs, bacon, grits and sausage, more than $97,000 had been earned for the PSF Teachers First Fund to support grants and scholarships for professional development and classroom enrichment projects.
Since the first Squid's breakfast in 2003, the owners of the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group (CHRG) have provided all of the food and pulled off the increasingly large numbers of meals, with the help from dozens of volunteers. Tom Herzog, manager of Squid’s, said that the early years felt more stressful for the CHRG team, until the veteran volunteers from PSF learned the ropes. Herzog smiled as he nodded at the bustling helpers throughout the dining room. “They can run the show now,” he said. However, the Squid’s folks still came in between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. to start preparing the food.
Lynn Lehmann, Executive Director of PSF, said, “To the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group -- what can we say. Your team is the best, and your generous spirits overwhelm us. We appreciate all of you so much -- and for all that you give to our organization -- and the community. THANK YOU!” The total amount raised in 16 years reached $953,431 this year, all of which has been earmarked for the Teachers First Fund to support programs, grants and professional development opportunities for CHCCS teachers, including scholarships towards National Board Certification.
As the sun rose, Ron Stutts from WCHL took the microphone to broadcast the beginning of his morning show from Squid’s, interviewing Lehmann and Stephanie Yost, breakfast volunteer organizer - as well as Superintendent Dr. Pam Baldwin, School Board Chair Joal Broun, and Assistant Principal of the Year, Anna Hipps from Chapel Hill High School. Various greeters from Lincoln Center rotated through their posts, as other School Board members hauled trash and collected plates and cups. The collegial spirit and contagious adrenaline allowed the waves of teachers and staff to move quickly through the serving line, providing them time to visit among the tables.
“The Annual Teachers First Breakfast and Roses is a CHCCS community sponsored event,” said Lehmann. “I’m so very grateful to the parents who support this effort, while honoring their teachers with the gift of a breakfast and rose at the same time. It is a win-win-win for CHCCS families, PSF and our deserving teachers.”