After growing up as a student in (BPS), Birmingham resident Rosemary Ricelli Scheidt continues to give back to the school district and the community in every way possible.
The 54-year-old has held many volunteer roles within BPS over the years including PTA/PTSA president at l, l, for the district at large and now is the corresponding secretary for the PTSA. Additionally she is the past president for CECAC (Community Education through Communication And Collaboration), co-chaired the school millage renewal campaign five years ago and is currently the parent representative chair for the Seaholm junior class.
"Rosemary has such incredible enthusiasm for everything she does," Marcia Wilkinson, director of community relations for BPS, said. "She gives everything beyond 100 percent of herself."
Though she graduated from in 1975, Scheidt's involvement in the school system stemmed when her oldest daughter, Emmy, 21, was in preschool. Her sister convinced her to become involved with the Quarton Community Education program, which she continued to be a part of as her three children attended the elementary school. Because her children — Emmy, Gia, 19, and Tommy, 17 — were in different schools at different times, there was a lot of overlap for Scheidt, who straddled two PTA/PTSA organizations at once.
“I put a lot of my personal energy into the school district,” Scheidt said. “I like to be involved because then I feel I know what’s going on.”
Involvement has accumulated years of achievements
In June, Scheidt received the Golden Puzzle Piece Award for her outstanding participation in CECAC. She said she was thrilled to be recognized for her efforts and her membership with CECAC is something that she treasures because she finds a lot of value in its mission — to link BPS with the greater community.
“It’s really a powerful organization. As people indicate a need they might have, we network and someone offers up a solution. For example my fourth grade would be willing to adopt your charity,” Scheidt explained. “To see that collaboration happen right in front of you is really quite neat.”
Scheidt said she's proud of being a part of the revamping of CECAC a few years back. She, along with a few others, revitalized the program by changing the name to something people could understand, and started inviting regionally notable speakers to draw a larger attendance.
"She’s just the ultimate community advocate and she’s just a true treasure of our school community," Wilkinson said.
Over the years, Scheidt became adjusted to juggling multiple projects and can frequently be found on the computer in the wee hours of the morning researching ways to improve activities and other school issues. Though she has taken on many projects, the largest by far was chairing the millage renewal in 2007.
“That was a huge undertaking, but something I’m also proud of because it passed with a 72 percent approval,” Scheidt said.
Though she isn’t chairing the millage renewal this year, Scheidt will still be as the building chairperson for Seaholm. Scheidt noted she will be out at all of the football games wearing stickers, buttons and encouraging attendees to post pro-millage yard signs. Aside from campaigning her biggest task currently is using her time as a Seaholm parent rep to help organize the Seaholm field day.
Stepping outside the school district
Though most of her time is invested in the school system, Scheidt also volunteers at the Furniture Bank of Southeastern Michigan where she has helped organize fundraisers for the past 15 years. The idea behind the Furniture Bank is to distribute donated furniture to those in need. Scheidt noted it is a grassroots organization that is always looking for unwanted furniture to help out additional families.
“I personally am a huge recycler and I love the idea that they take in used furniture people no longer need and give it to people in need,” Scheidt said. “Nothing upsets me more than driving around seeing furniture on the curb.”
In fact, on numerous occasions Scheidt said she has pulled over, loaded up the furniture she has spotted on the curb and taken it to the Furniture Bank herself.
Volunteering as a way of life
As a self-proclaimed “nutsy parent,” Scheidt saids he truly enjoys volunteering with the schools, especially at Seaholm where her son Tommy is a junior and she gets a chance to work with parents that have become her friends over the years. According to Scheidt, she makes every attempt to live life enthusiastically and pitch in whenever she has the opportunity.
“That’s the kind of family I was raised in. My parents were huge volunteers and they just always taught us that’s what you do,” Scheidt said. “Plus working with the kids is a huge joy. I am very blessed to be able to do a lot of really wonderful things.”
Since Scheidt is always brimming with ideas, it’s helpful that her husband, Steve, is just like her — a problem solver. Steve was elected to the Birmingham Board of Education in fall 2010, so the pair is able to talk about improvements and ways to tackle a variety of activities and issues.
“I enjoy nothing more than collaborating with my husband on a topic,” Scheidt said. “Our typical conversation at the kitchen table revolves around education.”