, Salem, MA

Local News

November 16, 2013

Salem school rallies around family

Turkey Shoot to also benefit longtime volunteer's children

SALEM — Cheryl Pszenny’s legacy at Witchcraft Heights Elementary School can be seen in yards all over Salem.

For the annual Turkey Shoot fundraiser, Pszenny always designed a set of wooden snowmen yard signs — complete with matching clothing and scarves — to raffle off. They were one of the most popular raffle items, and the winners often set them out in their yards year after year.

Pszenny, a longtime volunteer with the school PTO, died in September at the age of 43 after a brief battle with cancer. Her husband, Wally, died three years ago. They left three children, Brian, 16; Adam, 12; and Katelyn, 10, who are staying locally with family and continue to attend Salem schools.

The school community, still in mourning, has planned this year’s Turkey Shoot to honor their PTO president and raise money for her children.

Cheryl Pszenny will be at this year’s Turkey Shoot in spirit, said Tricia Panneton, who worked closely with her for years on the PTO.

“She’s still everywhere in the school,” Panneton said. “ ... She was the strongest person I’ve ever known, in every way. She would do anything for anyone. She made you feel like whatever was wrong in your life, she was there to say, ‘Don’t worry about this. We’ll take care of this. It’s no problem.’”

Pszenny had been involved with the Turkey Shoot for the past 10 years. She was the type of volunteer who liked to work in the background, and didn’t want attention.

“I’m really glad she’s the person who taught me about helping out and being part of the school,” said Panneton. “I think back to how many times they wanted to end the Turkey Shoot and she fought for it. It’s one of the best things she gave the school.”

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