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PALMYRA, NJ – Science programming at Palmyra High School (PHS) will receive a $15,500 donation as a result of a Casino Night fundraiser conducted by the Palmyra High School Foundation for Educational Excellence (PHSFEE).

The September 22nd event was the second annual Casino Night conducted by PHSFEE, an organization established in 2016, according to its bylaws, “to create community partnerships, and to acquire and distribute funds and other resources for the purpose of” supporting PHS.

As it did last year,?PHSFEE worked with the PHS administration to target the fundraiser for PHS’s science department. Last year $15,000 was raised, bringing the two-year total to $30,500. The organization has also received several science-focused grants and donations, including a large piece of equipment from the University of Pennsylvania.

Casino Night was again the result of a strong volunteer effort. Casino Night Chair and PHSFEE Trustee Christine Murnane led event planning with Trustee Jody Demas. The planning included assembling an enthusiastic team of parent volunteers and a sizable group of PHS Interact and student council members to help set up on Saturday afternoon.

In addition to being a win for PHS academic programs, the night appeared to be a lot of fun. As in 2017, the company Tumbling Dice ran games of chance, well-loved barbecue restaurant Sweet Lucy’s catered, and Cooper River Distillers set up a specialty drink, the PHSFEE fizz, which was a big hit. Sacred Heart again generously donated its gymnasium space.

Attendees played casino style games like blackjack, Texas hold ‘em, roulette, and craps, and they exchanged winnings for tickets that they used to bid on about 40 creatively titled prizes and prize baskets, most of which had been donated by local individuals and businesses.

There was also a 50/50 drawing. The winner received $1,300.

The fundraiser was nearly a sellout, with almost 200 community members and supporters in attendance, including PHS superintendent Brian McBride, principal Lisa Sabo, assistant principal Jared Toscano, and athletic director Mike Papenberg. “Celebrity” bartenders included teachers Jennifer VanZandt, Lorita Foster, and Jack Geisel. Board of education and council members from both Palmyra and Riverton attended.

PHSFEE President Scott Warnock said Casino Night has become a signature event for the community, as it “gives everyone a fun, focused way to donate their time and energy to PHS.”

PHSFEE will donate the funds at an upcoming public meeting of the Palmyra board of education.

Scott Warnock is a writer and teacher who lives in South Jersey. He is a professor of English at Drexel University, where he directs the University Writing Program. Father of three and husband of one, Scott is on two local school boards and coaches all kinds of youth sports.

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