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Students get chance to help themselves

The four schools of the Dempolis City School System will soon start a fierce competition to see which student body can do the most to enrich students’ learning experiences.

The Schoolfest campaign pits Westside Elementary, U.S. Jones School, Demopolis Middle School and Demopolis High School against each other to raise money for the Demopolis City Schools Foundation.

It is the primary fund-raiser of the year for the foundation, which raises money for “projects, programs or equipment that the (Demopolis City) school system just doesn’t have money to buy,” Executive Director Jan McDonald said.

“(The students and faculty) all work hard, they really do,” McDonald said Tuesday. “The more praise that goes to them for this effort, the better.”

Last year, the four schools raised $22,672, not counting sales of the popular Superman-inspired T-shirt. The total was just $1,500 less than the foundation’s record year.

Since the foundation started keeping records in 1999, the four schools’ Schoolfest efforts have add more than $155,000 to the foundation’s efforts to enhance education in Demopolis.

The official Schoolfest 2006 date this spring is May 5, but schools have already begun planning events to help raise money for the foundation.

Demopolis Middle School held its third Miss DMS pageant in February, drawing 45 contestants and a vocal audience of student and family supporters.

Also, every Monday in March, Westside Elementary School receives 20 percent of the sales at Pizza Hut when customers present the proper coupon. The special coupons are available at Westside and the foundation office in the Landmark Gallery at 102 E. Washington St.

The Demopolis High School Fish Fry will be Thursday, April 13. Both eat-in and take-out catfish dinners are available for the one night each year that DHS becomes the busiest restaurant in Demopolis. Tickets will be available soon at the school, from DHS students and at the foundation office.

The drama department at the high school also is contributing to the Schoolfest coffers with a production of “Our Town” for students on March 29. The performances on Thursday and Friday, March 30 and 31, are for the general public. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m., and tickets are $5.

U.S. Jones Elementary, DMS and WES have conducted sales and held other projects during the year. The elementary schools will hold field day activities for their students on May 5, including rides, games, and a “general store.”

In addition to the campus events, Schoolfest T-shirts will be sold. As in past years, they will feature a logo designed by a DHS art student.

Every penny raised from Schoolfest, McDonald said, will be returned to the schools next fall in the form of teacher grants from the Foundation.

Since the DCSF began in 1993, it has awarded more than $535,000 to teachers at all four campuses, including $55,000 last fall. The grants pay for programs, projects and equipment that cannot be funded through the school system budget.

Schoolfest chairmen from each campus are: Demopolis High: Annie Robertson and Angenelle Jones; Demopolis Middle: Cathy Leet, Dana Freeman and Meggin Dickerson; U.S. Jones: Elaine Wright, Janet Henderson and Tia Lawrence; and Westside: Mary Lilian Roberts and Dana Eddins.

– david.goodwin@demopolistimes.com