Tony Sartori, 61, and Sam Jenkins, 10, were fundraisers extraordinaire at the 85th annual May Mart on Saturday at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School.
Sartori, of Bellona-Gittings, a hairdresser at Kobi's in Mount Washington and father of a Roland Park graduate, parked a comfortable hair salon chair at the school's front steps and offered hair cuts to parents and students with all of the proceeds going to the Ingenuity Project, an accelerated science and math program for qualifying students in the Baltimore City public school system.
Inside the school, Sam and other fourth-graders in the problem-solving club Dream Imagination sold everything from trivets to purses and wallets made of duct tape, to raise money for their trip this month to Knoxville, Tenn., and the "Global Finals" of Destination imagination, an international problem-solving program that's billed as "the world's largest celebration of creativity."
May Mart, with moon bounce games, face-painting, and lots of crafts and food for sale, is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Roland Park Elementary/Middle and raises $20,000 to $30,000 a year for needs not funded by the school system, ranging from agenda books for students to a news scoreboard for the gym, according to the PTA president, Trish Garcia-Pilla.
"It's all parent-driven," she said, adding that vendors pay $75 for a table at the event.
May Mart is also an excuse for children to let their hair down.
"The kids are like insane about it," said Denise Guillory, one 230 May Mart volunteers. She said her daughter, Juni Polansky, a fourth-grader, was buying cookies, getting henna tattoos and helping the school jewelry club set up a table.
But May Mart is also an opportunity for individual fundraisers, such as the one staged by parents and students in the first-and-fourth-grade Destination Imagination clubs.
First-graders helped raise money on behalf of the fourth-graders. The two clubs hoped to raise as much as $800 for the fourth-grade trip, but parent Michele Hong, manager of the fourth-grade team, said she would be happy, even if only $200 or $300 was raised.
"We wanted the kids to take ownership" of the trip, said Hong, of Roland Park.
Sam, of Cedarcroft, is excited about the upcoming competition, for which fourth-graders wrote their own play — with no dialogue — about an adventurer who locates a gem in Hawaii, only to have it stolen by a psychic.
"I think we'll do really well," said Sam, who plays the psychic.
Meanwhile, Sartori, the hairdresser, did his part to raise money for the school and the Ingenuity program. His son Anthony graduated from Roland Park, where he was an Ingenuity student, and now is in the Ingenuity program at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, where he is a junior.
Sartori said raising money is his way of paying homage to the Ingenuity Project and its positive effect on his son.
"You gotta give back," Sartori said as he worked on Rabbi Ruth Smith's hair. He said he has been doing hair at the past seven May Marts and donating money from the day's sales, and all of the money he makes two weeks before and two weeks after May Mart.
"Parents have to stand up for Ingenuity," Sartori said. All he asks for is a tax write-off, and the new customers that he gets as a hairdresser.
Are you taking appointments?" asked Beth Hayes as she encountered Sartori while walking into the school. Hayes said she has two children at Roland Park and a third entering kindergarten there in the fall.
Smith, 49, of Radnor-Winston, is a chaplain at the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore. Her twin sons, eighth-graders Sam and Jacob, are in Roland Park's Ingenuity Project program, and will go to Poly this fall. Smith said she first met Sartori four May Marts ago and has been coming to him regularly ever since.
"I don't let anybody else touch my hair," she said.