Variety show to honor Helen Gould

FAIRMONT — The annual Partners in Education (PIE) variety show will spotlight more than a dozen student and faculty acts and serve as a bittersweet tribute to Helen Gould, longtime PIE and Fairmont school advocate who died in December.

The program will begin at 7 p.m. Monday in the Fairmont High School Performing Arts Center. Admission is $10 per family, $5 per adult and $3 per student.

“Helen was at school concerts, She was at school sporting events. She was at everything related to our schools,” said Barb Iverson who has been involved with PIE since 1993 and currently serves as its secretary. “We miss Helen so much. We knew she did a lot. We just didn’t realize how much she did. Last year was our 25th year so we thought that this might be a good time to stop doing the show.”

But prior to her death, Gould already had started organizing the show. Those performers she had contacted were ready for the show to continue, and the PIE board obliged.

The slate of entertainers features everything from a yoyo performance to vocalists and instrumentalists to comedy sketches. Tari Riley, Gould’s daughter, will perform a lyrical dance to “To God Be the Glory,” sung by Kurt Isenberg who shares emcee duties with Michelle Traetow.

Iverson said the variety show is not a huge moneymaker for PIE, but it keeps the organization of parents and educators in the public eye. The group has two other fundraisers each year, a tailgate party prior to the homecoming football game and an alumni newsletter mailed in June.

“The alumni are very, very supportive of Partners in Education. Right now, there’s about 7,000 alumni on our newsletter mailing list,” Iverson said. “We put in news of alumni. We put in teachers that are retiring. We put in information about class reunions. We put in all the alumni that have passed away in the last year and their class. There will be quite a big article about Helen in this newsletter.”

PIE uses its funds to fulfill grant requests from faculty at Fairmont High School and Fairmont Elementary School, purchasing technology, educational games and equipment to enhance student experience.

“Last year, we gave out $19,500,” Iverson said. “The teachers fill out a form for grants. Then there’s a committee within the board that looks at those, and they come back to the board with recommendations. We try to spread the money out evenly between the schools.”