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Jacksonville Education Foundation hosts successful 'Evening with our Stars'

JACKSONVILLE,  August 15, 2014— The Jacksonville Education Foundation’s “Evening With Our Stars” was again a huge success as two of Jacksonville’s brightest stars were honored Thursday night at the annual gala.  The Castle on the Lake hosted the event as Country music superstar LeeAnn Womack mixed and mingled with over 300 guests at the Castle on the Lake, while JHS’s legendary and beloved teacher Mr. Billy Guinn brought in decades of former students, fellow staff, and friends. Ms. Womack is a graduate of the JHS Class of 1984 and Mr. Guinn taught biology for over 40 years at JHS. In excess of $33,000 was raised to enhance academic awareness through the Education Foundation during the fundraising events.

Also at the event, 5 new JEF Influential Indians were named. A minimum donation of $1,000 is required to designate this award.  Retired teacher Barbara Murray was honored by her brother, Mark Cook;  LeeAnn Womack and Billy Guinn were named by Austin Bank; Barry Hughes by the board of directors of the Jacksonville Education Foundation, and local businesswoman, Julie Duren was honored as well. They join the distinguished list of 33 other Influential Indians. Retired JISD teacher,  Susan Phillips was also surprised by her daughter and son-in-law, Brandi and Pete Chilian, with the Influential Educator Award .  A donation of $2500 is required for this distinction.

JEF Board Member, Matt Montgomery introduced the new Vision 20/20 Program to be instituted at JHS this fall. This $150,000 donation was made to JEF by the Mark and Judith Cook Foundation to encourage, incentivize and promote college and career awareness for high-achieving Jacksonville students. The program has 8 targeted areas to increase college and career awareness for students and their parents and will be overseen by the high school counselors. The program is designed to reward academic success, as well as incentivize students to strive for goals in furthering their educational careers. 

Friday, August 15, 2014, Jacksonville Independent School District, along with the Jacksonville Education Foundation kicked off the new school year with “JISD – Don’t Stop Believing.” Over 1300 staff members, community leaders, and visitors gathered at the JISD Gymnasium to welcome in the 2014-15 school year. Guest speakers and Foundation Stars LeeAnn Womack and Mr. Billy Guinn addressed the enthusiastic group with encouraging messages of the impact of teachers on JISD students, both past and present. The crowd, as well as Superintendent Dr. Joe Wardell, was surprised as a “flashmob” broke out during the event. Over 100 staff members secretly practiced  during the summer and performed to “Don’t Stop Believing,” ending with campus principals, assistant superintendents, students, and the JHS mascots and flag runners joining in. 

One of the highlights of convocation each year is the presentation of the JEF Classroom Grant Awards.  The Foundation was able to award seven $1,000 grants this year with the support of Corporate Sponsors and donations. They are:

Family First Clinic Grant: Fred Douglass After School Clubs – Fred Douglass Elementary

  • Homes & Properties Grant: Preparing Students for Algebra – Jacksonville Middle School
  • Sadler’s Marine Grant: Field Trip to Dallas World Aquarium – GT 1st-4th Graders
  • JEF Classroom Grant: Field Trip to the Perot Museum – Nichols Intermediate
  • JEF Classroom Grant: We Are College Bound – West Side Elementary
  • JEF Classroom Grant: College tours grades 1,3,4 – Fred Douglass Elementary
  • Richards Penn Teacher Impact & Scholarship Grant (provided by Ricky Richards & Jill Penn): Matthew Paulson – Jacksonville High School

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