Poe SPARK Park Fundraising Boosted By Man Who Was A Poe Student 70 Years Ago
When Herbert Poyner heard that HISD’s Poe Elementary School was raising money to renovate the SPARK Park, he stepped up with a $25,000 donation. Poyner decided to make the donation is because he is a former Poe student. He attended Poe about 70 years ago.
“I want Poe to be the example of the best in public education,” said Poyner.
The donation comes from the Herbert and Marjorie Poyner Charitable Trust.
Current students have contributed to the fund as well, through the “Pennies for Poe Park” fundraising effort. The penny drive brought in a total of $4,551.94.
“We decided on the penny drive so that our students could participate and feel a sense of ownership in the fundraising project and the new park. I have never seen the kids have so much fun raising money for anything,” said Poe SPARK Park Committee member Angie Synek. “There was always a group of children huddled around the collection containers in the front hall of the school contributing and trying to estimate which grade would raise the most money.”
The top fundraisers turned out to be nine and ten year old boys and girls in the third grade. They raised $1,003.77. As a reward, the students received a free dress day and got to experience the sweet taste of victory at an ice cream party. The ice cream with sprinkles, marshmallows and more was served by PTO President Marci Arnold and former PTO Presidents Kathy Kahanek and Janet Peters, all three of whom serve on the Poe SPARK Park Committee.
The plan for the park includes a complete renovation to “Re-SPARK” the existing grounds with a new running track and soccer field. New sod, underground drainage and irrigation systems will be installed. The renovation will also replace the existing cyclone fence with an iron fence which will significantly enhance the school’s appearance.
The improvements will be financed by contributions from the Poe PTO, The SPARK Program, Houston Independent School District, and the generosity of individuals such as parents, staff, former students and people who live in the area. The budgeted cost of this project is between $260,000 and $280,000. More than $100,000 has been raised so far.
Poe’s SPARK Park was initially constructed in 1997 with funds from the SPARK program, the PTO, and the school’s friends and neighbors. SPARK, a non-profit program created by Eleanor Tinsley, provides partial funding to jump start the development of public school grounds into parks that can be used by the neighborhood during non-school hours.