With ‘Battle of the PTSA Memberships,’ Students Are the Real Winners

battleofthememberships_collage_webIt’s not unusual for schools to have friendly rivalries, but two high schools and their unit and council PTSAs are taking intermural competition to a fun, feisty and engaging level.

The city of Downey features two high schools – Downey and Warren – both of which have active PTSAs supported by Downey Council PTA (Thirty-Third District PTA). And even more than that, the two high schools also maintain an active yet happy matchup between their respective Vikings and Bears. So when the PTSAs and council came up with a membership idea building on that companionable competition, it proved to be a real winner.

As Downey Council PTA Membership Chair Claudia Cano reported, the two schools’ PTSA and council volunteers hit upon using the California State PTA high-school scholarship – exclusively for PTA student members — as an incentive for seniors to join their PTSAs and apply for the awards. But there was more to the plan than just increasing membership rolls.

“Our greater goal was to inform the seniors on specific details pertaining to the scholarship and its requirements,” she said. “It gave us an opportunity to put the ‘why’ in joining PTSA.”

So helping the students was definitely the “why.” As for where, when, who and how, the volunteers reached out to a local museum – the Stay Gallery – conveniently located (on “the perfect neutral-ground space”) right between the two high schools for a January 19 event. The museum took the effort to heart, creating a special graphic flier that was distributed far and wide via social media by volunteers, teachers, district staff and even by the local paper and Downey Mayor Alex Saab.

“Everyone who could help get the word out did and that, to me, showed that we are one united community,” said Cano.

While a huge rivalry soccer game happened to be scheduled for the same evening as the “Battle of the PTSA Memberships,” students and their parents still came to sign up for memberships and get all the details about the California State PTA scholarship program and more helpful PTA news and information. What’s more, those who were not able to make it due to the Vikings/Bears soccer game were made so aware by the pre-“Battle” promotions that the PTSAs are continuing to get emails and calls asking to join.

“The exposure of this event has created a lot of buzz in our community, and the membership numbers are increasing,” said Cano. “This all-in-good-fun experience has been so rewarding in so many ways – people are really starting to notice the PTA presence in our city!”

Does your unit have a unique membership campaign? Do you know an amazing PTA program or volunteer? Let us know, too! Share your story with