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Phoenix Elementary staff surprised with 'Day to Remember'


PHOENIX – The staff of Phoenix Elementary learned that it had been gifted with a "Day to Remember" night out in February during a surprise announcement at all-staff meeting Wednesday in the PES library.

The announcement was made via a Google Meet video stream by Geoff Rhodes, the Director of Fun for Venafi, a company based in Salt Lake City, Utah that provides machine-identity management sevices.

Here is Geoff Rhodes' explaining the genesis of this incredible gift and what it entails.


QUESTION: Who has funded this event?

ANSWER: Venafi. They provide industry-leading machine identity management to a global portfolio of Fortune 5000 companies. But they are more than just a technology company, they are a force for good in this world that has woven social good into the fabric of everything they do. Over the years they have supported global organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, World Central Kitchen and Habitat for Humanity, but beginning in 2020, they began to refocus their giving and emphasized investing it the communities where our team members live. Since we have several Venafi team members living in the great state of Oregon, we looked for ways we could support the PNW and quickly identified the Rogue Valley as a place of great need.   

QUESTION: How did you identify Phoenix Elementary School as the place you wanted to support?

ANSER: We found a video online produced by OSBA called “Rising From the Ashes”. It was such a powerful piece and one that personally moved me to tears. One story that really got to me was about a teacher named Kerri Brooks who works at Phoenix Elementary.  After watching it, I ended up reaching out to her via social media and asked if there was anything we (the Venafi team) could do to help support her. She mentioned that her students were in need of specialized equipment that (understandably) the school district was unable to provide at that time. So, we had her put together a wish list of everything she needed and then the Venafi team purchased all of it so that her students could have a better classroom experience. You can see that video HERE.

Since then, Kerri and I have kept in touch, sharing pictures of the kids playing on the equipment so that I can pass them on to the Venafi team. When I went to check in with her in December, I asked what her biggest need was and she said “a break," a sentiment that was shared by her fellow teachers as well. After two years of teaching through a pandemic while paired with a devasting forest fire, I quickly understood the seriousness of her request. So, we came up with an idea to create “A Day to Remember” that would celebrate the teachers, faculty and staff of Phoenix Elementary School for all the hard work they have put into supporting their community. 

QUESTION: Why is the event taking place?

The Venafi team is committed to making the world we live in a better place, by supporting local communities in need. And just like you said, the Rogue Valley, like so many places across this country, is in need of some good news and hopefully, this event can cause a positive ripple to wash over the valley.