I would like to ask that everyone get to know your town’s local private schools this week. Many private schools exist around our valley, and are only funded by tuition, fundraisers, and the few grants available. Many people do not understand that the school districts do not give much help to our local private schools because they operate separately. Private schools offer our children smaller class sizes, more individualized instruction, the chance to have religious beliefs as part of the scholastic curriculum, and many other advantages. Attending private schools is viewed highly by college and university admission boards.

One of the oldest private schools in our valley, Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH), is a local Catholic private school. OLPH is holding their annual walkathon this Friday, February 1, 2013. OLPH has been a part of the Indio Community sense 1951. The school is growing, but needs help from the community to continue with new construction. The school has an updated building with a high-tech computer lab and two stories of classrooms, but some of its original buildings are still in use by the students because of needed space. The school does not have a gym yet, but a basketball court could be in the schools near future. I am asking everyone to come down Friday and donate or make a pledge for the walkathon. OLPH is part of our local community’s history and deserves our help to grow. By helping your local private school, you are helping to better education for those students.

Some other local school events this week are taking place. According to the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD), “The Cathedral City High School (CCHS) Band Program has scheduled its 8th annual Music Festival and Silent Auction for February 1, 2013, beginning at 6:00 pm, at the Doral Resort in Cathedral City. This year, Pete Carlson’s Golf and Tennis has signed on to be a sponsor and will be hosting a fashion show along with the event. The funds raised from this event support the CCHS Band Scholarship fund, and will assist in purchasing new instruments for the Band Program. Tickets for the event are $50 each, which includes a gourmet meal, entertainment by the CCHS Royal Jazz Band, and admission to the silent auction and fashion show. More information can be found at the CCHS Band website: www.cchsbands.org. Advanced tickets can be purchased through the CCHS Band Office, 760-770-0164.”

Finally, PSUSD is issuing a formal challenge to all high schools across the valley: “Palm Springs Unified School District’s three comprehensive high schools are partnering Pathways to Success on the third valley-wide “FAFSA Completion/California Aid Night” as part of a competition between all valley high schools on Feb. 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.” PSUSD will be holding sessions at Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, and Palm Springs High Schools. Attendees are asked to bring proper personal information for filing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and Cal-Grant applications. I encourage every student and parent of a student ready to apply to college to attend these sessions for free help to get college hopefuls the most money they can for their future education. The chance for free money for college is never a bad idea, especially with prices for college and university education rising each year.