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Totally Awesome 80s event makes money for Kerr Elementary playground

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:21 p.m.
Chair Shari Zatman, left, and volunteer Lisa Rutkowski work on table settings for their upcoming 80's fundraiser.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
The Herald
Chair Shari Zatman, left, and volunteer Lisa Rutkowski work on table settings for their upcoming 80's fundraiser. Jan Pakler | for The Herald

For everyone who secretly cranks up the radio when Bon Jovi comes on or knows the lyrics to Michael Jackson's “Beat It” by heart, you can spike your hair and celebrate freely during Saturday's Totally Awesome 80s Night to benefit the Kerr Elementary PTA.

Tuck your Z Cavaracci's into a pair of Neon socks and dance the night away to Duran Duran at the Pittsburgh Field Club along Squaw Run Road — shoulder pads are optional.

“We wanted to do something fun, something that people could go all out for,” said Shari Zatman, chairwoman of the school's biennial fundraiser.

Tickets cost $40 per person and include hors d'oeuvres and dinner. There will be teacup and silent auctions. For true fans of the era, there will be an Atari gaming area for Pac-Man tournaments.

Proceeds will be used to kick off a $75,000 capital campaign for playground upgrades at the school along Kittanning Pike where more than 400 students attend.

The current playground was built in the early 1990s and lacks the safety advances made since then.

“Risk of injury to the children of our school is high because the current structure features metal equipment set on a concrete play area,” said Lisa Rutkowski, PTA volunteer.

She said the committee hopes to break ground on a new play area within five years.

The Kerr PTA, like many others, helps to pay for activities throughout the school year that enhance children's experiences. Projects typically include field trips, holiday parties and on-site visits from experts to broaden students' educational experiences.

“With dwindling school budgets, our PTA has stepped in to fund many of the extra activities,” Rutkowski said.

“In addition to the annual expenses, we have determined that we must begin a campaign for a new school playground.”

Totally Awesome 80s Night will serve as the launch party, Zatman said.

“We know this is going to be an ongoing project,” she said.

She sees the event as a way to start an awareness. As an added bonus, party-goers get to dig out their parachute pants, pile up the big hair and have an excuse to breakdance.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or

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