The Annual School Tea, which traditionally takes place on the first Sunday in February, is by far the largest event on the school’s annual calendar. The Tea is primarily a fund raising event (last year it raised $17,426), but because its success depends entirely on the volunteer work of IHMS families, it has a secondary benefit as well – it brings parents together to work cooperatively towards a common goal, and in the process creates a sense of unity and fellowship within the IHMS community.
|The 2015 Tea Openers – Dayna Konopelny (UCY Vice President and IHMS alumni) and Alex Pankiw (UCY President)|
|The Annual School Tea also attracts a wide range of visitors beyond the families currently attending IHMS. Since the Tea is open to everyone, it’s a great way for former students to revisit the school to meet old friends and acquaintances. If fact, most of the table servers at the Tea are either present or past students of the school.|
|All of the tea servers were either past or present students of IHMS, and all were volunteers|
This year, the Tea took place on Sunday, February 1, 2015 from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.
|An example of the poster used to advertise the Annual School Tea|
Although the Tea officially began at 1:30 p.m., a lot of people arrived well in advance, sometimes directly after attending Sunday Liturgy services, in order to get a good seat in the gym for the opening speeches. People also came early to view the displays in the Exhibit Room, to enter tickets for the Basket Raffle, and to visit the Bake Room before it was sold out. Parent volunteers seen throughout the school (and many more working anonymously behind the scenes) kept things running smoothly to accommodate all the visitors to the Tea.
An event as large as the as the Annual School Tea requires a lot of hard working parent volunteers to keep things running smoothly
The theme for the 2015 Annual School Tea was “Honouring Our Youth”.
It’s been a custom for years for the school to showcase examples of student artwork on the theme of the Annual School Tea. Recently, that artwork has been displayed on hundreds of placemats arranged on the tables throughout the gym. Every student in the school created at least 2 colourful placemats based on the topic ” Honouring Our Youth”.
|Examples of placemat artwork by students from sadochok to junior-high|
|Mr. R. Picklyk, the principal of IHMS was Master of Ceremonies for the Tea|
The Tea began at 1:30 p.m. with a call for attention by Mr. R. Picklyk, the principal of IHMS and Master of Ceremonies for the event. Mr. Picklyk asked everyone in attendance to stand and welcome a group of dignitaries that entered the gym and processed to the main table at the front. The procession was lead by Sr. Anne Pidskalny (the school’s director), and including Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM (Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada), Mrs. Donna Sikorsky (Tea co-convernor), Mrs. Patrucia Maruschak (Tea co-convernor), Mr. Arnold Dumlao (vice-president of the IHMS Parent’s Guild), and Alex Pankiw and Dayna Konopelny (the Tea openers).
After welcoming everyone to the Tea, Mr. Picklyk introduced Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM, Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada. Rather than saying a prayer, Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak lead everyone in a traditional Ukrainian Christmas hymn.
|Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, OSBM lead everyone in a prayer song|
After the song, Mr. Picklyk introduced two dignitaries who spoke briefly on behalf of the group they represented. First, Mr. Arnold Dumlao, vice-president of the IHMS Parent’s Guild, thanked the convenors for all their hard work, the coordinators for the different areas, the donors for the basket raffle, the parents for the baked goods, and all the volunteers who made this year’s Tea such a success.
Secondly, Sr. Anne Pidskalny, SSMI, the school’s kindergarten teacher as well as its director, greeted everyone on behalf of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate, the religious order that own and operate the school and have been doing so for over 109 years. Sr. Anne acknowledged her appreciation for everyone in the community who has a vital interest in the continued operation of the school. She ended by thanking the UCY for serving the Ukrainian youth of Winnipeg just as Pope Francis famously declared during a mass on World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. Pope Francis simply stated: “Go, do not be afraid, and serve”.
|Top photo: Mr. Arnold Dumlao, vice-president of the IHMS Parent’s Guild; bottom photo: Sr. Anne Pidskalny, SSMI, the school’s kindergarten teacher and director|
Mr. Picklyk then spoke briefly about the school’s relocation project, which recently created an alumni component to help raise money for the capital campaign. Mr. Picklyk also spoke of the success of last fall’s fund raising play, “The Perogy Supper Miracle”, which raised a substantial amount of money for the school. Finally, he mentioned that tickets for this March’s fund-raising dinner are available in the Display Room, as are copies of the school’s 100th anniversary book.
|Banner on the school website advertising the March Fundraising Dinner|
Finally, Mr. Picklyk introduced the Tea Openers. This year, like last year, instead of one person opening the Tea, there were two – Alex Pankiw (UCY President) and Dayna Konopelny (UCY Vice-President)
|Alex Pankiw and Dayna Konopelny took turns talking about the UCY organization|
Alex and Dayna took turns speaking about the benefits of belonging to a Ukrainian Catholic youth club. Over the past few years it has given them the opportunity to meet new friends and to reconnect with old acquaintances. It has also given them the chance to serve their community and enhance their spiritual growth through programs and retreats, such as Unity 2012. In 2012 they were also honoured to meet the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk (note that His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk also paid a visit to IHMS). Alex and Dayna noted that over the last 70 years, the UCY has given Ukrainian youth in Winnipeg the opportunity to see the big picture – our community is much larger than we think, and that together, we can move the spirit forward.
The Tea was officially opened after Alex and Dayna lit the two centerpiece candles.
|Alex and Dayna officially opening the Tea by lighting the two centerpiece candles|
The Annual School Tea is such a huge event that it can only happen through the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. Although everyone involved with the school played an important role in the Tea’s success (including teachers and students), the majority of the work was done by parent volunteers. A lot of these parents dedicated most of their weekend preparing for the event, while others worked tirelessly with the cleanup and reorganization of the downstairs classrooms after the event. A large group of parents also kept everything running smoothly by working anonymously behind the scenes during the Tea.
|A group of hard working volunteers working behind the scenes to create the food trays used on the tables in the Tea room|
The Tea was organized by two very talented IHMS parents, Mrs. Donna Sikorsky and Mrs. Patricia Maruschak – the third consecutive year for Mrs. Sikorsky and the second year for Mrs. Maruschak.
|Mrs. Patricia Maruschak (left) and Mrs. Donna Sikorsky. the two Tea convenors finding a moment to relax after the Tea officially opened|
These two convenors spent countless hours co-ordinating the dozens of volunteers necessary to run the event. The results of the Tea speak for themselves because the two convenors obviously did a spectacular job!
|A few examples of the beautiful table settings at the Tea|
Some of the volunteer co-ordinators and their areas of responsibility:
- Main Raffle – Jane McCarvill and Penny Spewak
- Basket Raffle – Sandra Copp and Corrine McGinn
- Kitchen Coordinators – Liezel Jacinto and Violet Zbaraszewski
- Front Door/Reception – Myron Radawetz
- Servers – Melissa DePiero
- Bake Room – Dorota Barczak
|Parent volunteers working at the Main Raffle in the front foyer|
|Click here to view photos of some of the many volunteers at the Tea|
During the Tea, each classroom on the first floor of the school was used for a special purpose.
The grade 3 classroom was the “Bake Room”
The Bake Room has always been one of the more popular attractions at the Tea because everyone likes baked goods. Pastries, pies, and other goodies that were generously donated by the families at IHMS were sold here. Every family contributed 3-4 items for the Tea, and while some were used in the Tea room, the rest were sold in the Bake Room. With well over 100 families in the school, there was an incredible selection to choose from! This year, in addition to baked goods, copies of the old IHMS Cookbook were also sold in the Bake Room.
The grade 2 classroom was the “Display Room”
This room contained displays of a few assorted items. It included a display board of the UCY organization, a display board for “Welcome Home”, the display boards showing plans for the new school (the same display boards that are usually found in the front foyer), and some samples of student art from last year’s Ukrainian week. Mrs. Dudych, the school’s secretary, was also selling tickets to the March fund-raising dinner, as well as copies of the IHMS 100th anniversary book.
|Some of the attractions found in the “Display Room”|
The grade 1 classroom was the “Basket Raffle Room”
|In the “Basket Raffle”, families donate items that are wrapped, itemized, and then raffled off.Tickets were:
In addition to the basket raffle, the Tea Raffle is one of the most important fund-raising components of the Tea. Tickets for the Raffle are printed and distributed to every family in the school to sell.
|Some of the attractions found in the “Raffle Room”|
The Kindergarten classroom was the “Cloak Room”
Student volunteers made sure everyone had a safe place to keep their coat while at the Tea.
|Junior-high students assisted visitors who left their coats in the cloak room|
Since the School Tea takes place during the coldest time of the year in Winnipeg, weather is always an important factor for visitor turnout. The afternoon temperature on Sunday, February 1, 2015 was -20 degrees Celsius – much colder than it had been for a while. This was unfortunate because the average temperature for the previous few weeks hovered near the freezing point. At least it was a sunny day, so the bright sunshine probably encouraged some people to brave the cold.
|The weather during the Tea was sunny and cold|
|The temperature was cold outside, but the ambience was warm inside!|
By the end of the day, hundreds of visitors passed through the school’s front doors, making the 2015 version of the Annual Tea a complete success. The hard work of everyone involved in the undertaking of an event this large is a testament to the strong community spirit and sense of volunteerism that has held Immaculate Heart of Mary School together for over 109 years. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the Tea such a success, and see you again next year!
|Hundreds of visitors passed through the doors of IHMS, making the 2015 Annual School Tea a resounding success|