Column: Taste of Carmel a boon to school


More than 1,000 people found their gravy train and gladly hopped on March 6.

It was the Taste of Carmel which attracted Carmelites to Ritz Charles like moths to a nighttime streetlamp. But unlike other elementary school fundraisers, it cannot be ignored that Orchard Park pulled in significant support and attendees from all four corners of the city.

It appears there are no geographic boundaries to limit the backing Orchard Park receives, which makes Taste of Carmel so much more than just an elementary school fundraiser. It is a community event that inspires the best of Carmel to come together without care as to where their child or grandchild attends school.

Congratulations goes to the Orchard Park PTO for creating an event that first and foremost appeals to foodies by bringing in local restaurants to provide all you can possibly eat. Jenn Penix led the team of Susanna Williams, Lisa Wilson, Katie Lawson, Natalie Bellotti, Ann Bernard, Angi Walker, Kelly McDole, Holley Rubenstein and Melinda Miller who promised to deliver bigger and better than the previous year.

“I am simply amazed at the way our community comes together for Taste of Carmel,” Penix said. “In some ways it has become a reunion of sorts for the Carmel Clay School community, but so much more.”

Jenn’s comment about reunion emphasizes the noticeable byproduct of the event, as the room was full of administrators, teachers, staff and volunteers from every other Carmel Clay School. They were there to show their support.

Supt. Nicholas Wahl took a moment during the party to note the large outpouring of financial assistance from the Carmel business community to ensure the night fulfilled its mission.

The funds raised will be used to purchase a mobile technology lab. Teachers can use the lab in their classroom to help students become engaged in utilizing technology to access data, collaborate and communicate.

Orchard Park Elementary, more than any other elementary in the district, is a rich blend of cultures, with 28 languages spoken by students from around the world who are in its classrooms. But ask anyone connected to the school and they will tell you this is a learning experience that is invaluable for all students.

Orchard Park Elementary is perfectly nestled in the middle of one of Carmel’s first neighborhoods. Although the school has unique challenges, it also has enviable opportunities. The families of Orchard Park should be proud of what they accomplished, and rest assured the entire Carmel community is there for you.