The Jacksonville Education Foundation is seeking contributions and ideas on how to improve academic performance as it prepares to kick off its 2012 membership drive.
The membership drive will begin Wednesday when foundation board member Julianna Peacock and her husband, Jacksonville teacher Ben Peacock, speak to the Jacksonville Rotary Club. It is the first membership drive since the foundation was reinstated in 2009, and honorary co-chairs are actress Margo Martindale and former pro-football player Pete Lammons.
“Every school will benefit by improved academic performances and that is the focus of our organization,” foundation President Barry Hughes said. “There are not many organizations that focus on academic excellence, so we're looking for ideas to encourage that, improve it and new innovative things we can do to make academics important for the students, fun for the students.”
“When people are moving in town, they look up education and health care… We want to make sure we produce the brightest graduates,” Hughes said.
“The best thing you can do is contact a current foundation member and let us hear your ideas and interests if you have an idea.”
The 2010 Jacksonville High School salutatorian, Mikaela Villavisencio, received $1,000 last year, which was renewed this year.
Grace Traylor, parent representative for the board, said the Class of 2001 also donated $500 to add to a $1,000 scholarship for the 2011 salutatorian. The hope is to give a $1,000 scholarship to the salutatorian each year and have it renewed all four years of college, she said.
The foundation also allows people to honor those who have made a difference in Jacksonville education by making a donation of $1,000 or more, Ms. Traylor said. Those honored are named “Influential Indians.”
According to the foundation brochure, recipients receive certificates and their name is added to a plaque at the Jacksonville ISD Central Office.
Current “Influential Indians” are Cordelia Adams, Judy Terry, Billie Hopson, Lucy Farmer, Jacksonville High School Class of 1979 and Sissy Austin.
Ms. Traylor said she encourages everyone in the community to get involved with the foundation and help establish a support base for students, whether through ideas or donations.
“Some surrounding cities have large education foundations and there is a need for one here,” she said. “Jacksonville's always so generous and supportive. We feel confident the community will support a foundation here in a big way.”
She added, “Education is just so important and any support, especially community support, is going to help the entire community.”
For more information, call 903-586-6511, ext. 17, or email JISDFoundation@gmail.com.
Residents also can find more information or donate by going to www.jacksonvilleeducationfoundation.org. Donations can be mailed to Jacksonville Education Foundation, Attn: Barry Hughes, P.O. Box 2882, Jacksonville, TX 75766.