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Demopolis City Schools Foundation celebrates donors, awards grants [PHOTO GALLERY]

The Demopolis City Schools Foundation held its annual Donor Appreciation Celebration Monday, recognizing those that gave to the organization, as well as awarding $31,000 in spring classroom grants for the 2017-18 school year.

Sarah Chandler Hallmark, president of the DCSF Board of Directors, said the past year was another successful one for the foundation, seeing a “significant increase in the endowment fund and awarding $69,000 in classroom grants” in the 2017-18 school year.

DSCF Endowment Committee Chairman Michael Reynolds reported that the endowment fund has risen to $1.2 million.

“We offer our sincere thanks to all of those who give to the endowment fund, which secures the future of the foundation,” Reynolds said.

Named endowment donors recognized during the event included: Elizabeth B. Lawrence given by the John C. Webb III and Marie Suttle Webb Foundation; and Susan Elmer Wallace.

Contributing through Continued Endowment Support were: Betsy and Billy Coplin, Kathryn and William Cunningham, Demopolis High School Class of 1967, Bill Horton and Judilyn Brooks, Sarah Chandler Hallmark, Angela Northcutt Holifield, J.R. Rivas, Robertson Banking Company, and Martha and Joe Turner.

According to the DCSF Membership Committee Chair, the annual membership campaign is the largest fundraiser for the foundation each year.

Those membership donors who gave at the Executive Level were Georgia-Pacific, Parr’s Chevron, and WestRock.

Those giving at the Patrol level were: Alabama Power Company-Greene County Steam Plant, CEMEX Southeast, Foster Farms, Jackson/Newell Foundation, Karen and Olen Kerby, Marengo Insurance, Louise Webb and Steve Marzen, Donna and Kris Mullins-State Farm Companies, Cindy and Claud Neilson, Rotary Club of Demopolis, Mellie and John Warner, John Cox Webb IV, Vickie and Dan Wilson, and one anonymous donor.

Partner level donors were: Amanda and John David Barnes, Sarah Chandler and Luke Hallmark, Kayte and Thomas Melton, Mary and Freddie Rutledge, and Perfect Touch/Perfect Touch Home.

There were 71 who gave at the Sustainer Level and another 89 giving at the Member Level.

“The funding we receive through donations puts us on par with some of the biggest school systems in the state, which is remarkable for a city of 8,000 people,” said DCSF Executive Director Amanda Barnes.

Barnes added that the foundation works to ensure grants awarded meet longterm goals of the school system while also providing students with unique learning opportunities.

“Our goal is provide strategic grant building, such as the coding program at U.S. Jones Elementary and providing laptops for the History and English departments at DHS and DMS. Along with that, we want our teachers to be creative in applying for these grants,” she said.

In January, USJ was named a Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS) School of Distinction, due to the coding program that was funding through DCSF grants.

“The foundation plays a key role in [the coding]program, because if we did not have the equipment to do it we would have not received this [recognition],” said USJ Principal Leon Clark said.

Among the highlights of Monday night’s event was the awarding of $31,000 in spring classroom grants. Following are the grants awarded:

• Andrea Johnson — $1,000 to supplement Westside Elementary’s collection of community helper books and e-books.

• Rachel White — $7,000 for 30 Chromebooks for the Demopolis High School English Department.

• Dale Acker — $6,000 to purchase welding machines for the welding program at DHS.

• Charles Jones — $6,000 for a power threader to train the pipe theading process

• Meggin Mayben — $4,000 for a set of 10 Google Expedition virtual reality headsets for the DHS history department.

• Javalynn Henderson — $4,000 for a set of 10 Google Expedition virtual reality headsets for the Demopolis Middle School history department.

• Adam Brown — $3,446.32 for new and improved stands for the DMS band and its first concert bass drum.

In addition to the awarding of spring classroom grants, the foundation reported that for the 2016-17 school year, there were 3,247 student interactions, 560 students learned computer programming, 519 library books were provided, and 90,035 library books were checked out.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, February 17 issue of the Demopolis Times.)