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WCSD student excels in fundraisers

“Catherine represents the ideal Zephyr student. She advocates for herself and others, is naturally curious and puts in the effort to excel academically. Although her total sales are extremely impressive and even hard to believe, I’m not at all surprised, given the qualities and work ethic she puts forth on a consistent basis at school.”

These words are from Gabriel Dillard, principal of Zephyr Elementary School, who had many positive things to say when The Press told him a story was being written about Catherine Becker, a fifth-grade student at Zephyr Elementary.

Dillard continued: “Her teachers would agree as well. Mrs. Brody, Catherine’s math teacher, reports that Catherine is ‘a hard worker in math class. She perseveres and tries her best until she has solved the problem and isn’t afraid to ask questions. She is consistently supportive of her friends in class.’ Ms. Reardon, Catherine’s ELA teacher, reports that ‘Catherine is helpful, caring, kind, respectful and family oriented.’”

Every school year since Catherine was in kindergarten at Gockley Elementary School, she has had high sales in the fundraisers organized by Whitehall-Coplay PTO PLUS. Teachers, principals and the PTO president from Gockley Elementary to Zephyr were more than happy to share the great attributes that make Catherine a joy to have in the classroom - and a successful fundraiser.

“When I had a chance to sit down and have lunch with Catherine as a reward for being one of Zephyr’s top sellers, I asked how she was able to achieve such high sales. Catherine filled me in and stated that a big part of her strategy was to network with family and friends. Knowing her reputation as a student and supportive classmate, I’m sure family and friends were more than happy to help her out,” Dillard added.

Mrs. Chunko, a kindergarten teacher at Gockley, said, “I remember that Catherine was always smiling! She loved kindergarten.”

First-grade teacher Mrs. Koch contributed, “Catherine was a very happy first-grader [who] loved to attend school. She was kind to other classmates and overall was a good student.”

Denise Saylor, the principal of Gockley, remarked how Catherine was always friendly and said hello to her in the hallways.

“Catherine was the top seller both of her years here at Steckel and her commitment to the PTO fundraisers is not surprising given her personality and work ethic,” Cora Snyder, principal of Steckel Elementary School, added.

Another person very familiar with Catherine is PTO PLUS President Toni Fillman, who was eager to share the bond she and Catherine share.

“Catherine is a very special young lady - so quiet and sweet,” Fillman said. “From the moment I met Catherine, we connected. Her beautiful smile captures your heart.

“She has had high sales since kindergarten, received the highest awards offered by Cherrydale for the fundraisers and yet always remains humble. Catherine won a ride in the limo, and much to her and my disappointment, schools closed, due to COVID, so she lost out on that reward. Now the last year in elementary school, Catherine went above and beyond with the Cherrydale fundraiser - amazing!

“I will miss seeing Catherine as she moves on to (Whitehall-Coplay) Middle School. Thank you, Catherine, for all your years of helping PTO to make Cherrydale fundraisers a success, but above all, thank you for being the special young lady you are,” Fillman said.

So let’s meet Catherine, get to know her a little bit and hear from her firsthand how she does such a great job with these fundraisers.

The Press: What grade are you in and where do you live, Catherine?

Catherine: Fifth grade. I live in Whitehall.

The Press: How much money did you raise for this most recent PTO fundraiser?

Catherine: I think it was almost $3,000. (The Press contacted Fillman who said Catherine sold more than $5,000 for Zephyr this year.)

The Press: Do you have an estimate of how much money you’ve raised since starting kindergarten at Gockley?

Catherine: I’m not totally sure on the actual number, but since kindergarten, it very well could be about $10,000 between all the fundraisers. (Fillman informed The Press that although an exact amount isn’t calculated, it is more than $10,000. Catherine started out with above $1,500 in kindergarten and continued to increase the amount every school year. There was more than one fundraiser during each academic year, Fillman said.)

The Press: What makes you work so hard to be the top seller?

Catherine: To raise money for the PTO, so we can go on field trips, and to help our school. The prizes are cool, too.

The Press: How do you sell that much? Do your family and friends help you?

Catherine: My family helps me out a lot. They are my top supporters. I don’t give up. I keep pushing it.

The Press: What kind of prizes do you get?

Catherine: Some cool stuff! Every other year, the top seller got every prize in each level you reached, and then when you reached the three highest levels, you got to pick one from each of those. This year, however, you got all the smaller prizes but could only get one prize from one of the high levels you reached.

The Press: What’s your favorite prize?

Catherine: I liked quite a few. It’s hard to pick a favorite. I really liked the Nintendo Switch Lite from last year. This year, the top prize I took was a $200 Visa gift card. The basketball chair was cool, too.

The Press: What do you enjoy about the luncheons with other students and principals?

Catherine: I like getting together with the other sellers and playing games. I like talking with everyone and finding out how much we all raised.

The Press: When you’re not busy with fundraisers, what are some hobbies you have?

Catherine: Playing basketball for Hokey, drawing and going to the movies. Also, hanging out with my new pug puppy, Chance.

The Press: Are you involved with any clubs or extracurricular activities with school? If so, what makes them fun?

Catherine: I am in chorus. Rehearsal is very fun! I like being with my friends who share the same passion for music as I do.

The Press: Will you continue to sell at the middle school?

Catherine: Most likely, yes.

The Press: What advice would you give to other elementary students on selling?

Catherine: Don’t give up! Be persistent but not too pushy.

And there you have it, folks. Catherine provided us with her insight into how and why she has consistently made high sales throughout her time at Whitehall-Coplay School District’s elementary schools.

Without a doubt, Catherine is well on her way to wonderful years at WCMS. Congratulations to Catherine on all her successes in continued education and fundraising.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Catherine Becker, a fifth-grade student at Zephyr Elementary School, has had high sales in Cherrydale fundraisers, organized by Whitehall-Coplay PTO PLUS, since she was in kindergarten at Gockley Elementary School.