Each week a dedicated volunteer or community partner will be recognized for the time and talents dedicated to Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS).
Alice Catherman’s journey into volunteering for VBCPS started with an open house more than 20 years ago. She is known across the division for her current role as president of the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs and president of the PTSA at Kempsville High School, but Catherman has been a dedicated volunteer of the division for decades.
“When my oldest, who is now 26, started kindergarten at Newtown Elementary School I decided to attend the open house,” explained Catherman. “They didn’t really have a PTA at the time, but all the teachers were asking for volunteers in the classroom. So, I became the room parent my son’s kindergarten class. It all started with a teacher asking for help.”
She enjoyed helping in the classroom so much, she decided to keep dedicating her time to the school. Catherman has now volunteered at every school her two children have attended, as well as additional schools in need of an extra pair of hands.
“I discovered that I loved being in the classroom. It’s my favorite thing – whether it was as a PTA member or a parent. Helping a child learn to read or seeing that lightbulb go on when they realize two plus two equals four – I loved being in the classroom.”
Another favorite of Catherman’s is the All-Night Graduation celebration, “a PTSA-sponsored event for students to celebrate safely and smartly after their graduation ceremony with the entire class.”
Dedicating time to multiple activities is something Catherman has done most of her life.
“I started volunteering when I was in middle school. In college I was a member of the suicide hotline. Volunteering is a big part of my life. Finding time to do everything you want and need to do may be a lot at times, but it’s fun and we are important.”
For those new to volunteering, Catherman advises to try it out with things like a class field trip or in the classroom. “Start small and see what works best for you and your schedule. If you are able to add more, then go for it, but if not, that’s completely alright. Any time you are able to help means a great deal to the teacher and school.”
Catherman is always ready to lend a hand when needed.
“Volunteers are a vital part of the school division. Teachers depend on us. Administration depend on us,” she adds. “They are always welcoming to anyone wishing to help. We always want more volunteers in the building.”
Become a volunteer or community partner today and make a difference in student’s lives. For more information on volunteering visit vbschools.com.