Successful North Meck barbecue falls just short of goal
by Staff Writer
North Mecklenburg High School continued its 33-year-old tradition Friday, Oct. 21, by cooking and selling 6,800 pounds of pork for its annual barbecue fundraiser.
Students, parents and community volunteers all contributed to the effort by cooking barbecue at the school’s pit, pulling pork, boxing to-go dinners and serving customers. Although the amount of funds raised came up just short of last year’s amount, North Mecklenburg High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association president Wendy Stormont said she was more than pleased with this year’s effort.
“Considering the economy and all, we have been very happy with the turnout,” Stormont said.
While the association’s barbecue chairman David Dworak said he felt uncomfortable releasing the total amount raised, volunteers said they were about 95 percent of the way towards their goal by Friday afternoon and sales continued into the evening before the school’s home football game against Mooresville High School.
Money raised from the event goes to fund school-wide grants that allow teachers to enhance classroom activities. In the past, grants have gone to fund everything from fish for an aquarium to guitars and cameras, Stormont said. Funds also support senior scholarships and events.
“Teachers are only limited by their imagination as to what they can do with the money,” Stormont, who added that the event is the school’s only major fundraiser of the year.
The event is a weeklong affair with a total of 150 volunteers cooking the barbecue on Tuesday – despite torrential rains throughout the evening – and pulling pork off the bone on Wednesday.
“It was all we could do to keep the pits going Tuesday, but everyone kept at it.” Stormont said.
Students sold tickets to the community during the weeks leading up to the fundraiser and many helped direct traffic into the school’s back parking lot, sell T-shirts and keep track of ticket sales.
Stormont said the barbecue has been a community-wide staple for three decades, and some students even have parents who attended North Mecklenburg High School and helped with the barbecue themselves.
“For a long time, North Mecklenburg was the only high school around,” Stormont said. “Hopewell (High School) wasn’t here, Mallard Creek (High School). It has definitely turned into an event that the whole community looks forward to each year.”
To give students a little extra enthusiasm in their selling efforts, the school allowed students who sold at least five tickets to be dismissed early on the day of the event. Area businesses donated prizes to be awarded to the top-sellers, and the top-10 money raisers will get the opportunity to throw a pie in principal Matt Hayes’ face.
But even without the incentives and prizes, Stormont said that the student and parent involvement shows how North Meck families take ownership of their school.
“The students are really involved in every aspect,” Stormont said. “They know that they are using their time to help their school.”