By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
There are some things that are out of a school district’s budget capabilities.
With recent cutbacks to Texas public schools, the Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation (CSEE) has stepped in to fill some of the financial gaps that were missing in Commerce Independent School District.
CSEE gave more than $60,000 this past year to fund nine separate grants for children attending CISD.
CSEE held its annual Boots & BBQ fundraiser to a record attendance inside the Commerce High School cafeteria on April 6.
Dr. Jack Pirkey, foundation president of CSEFF, said every person on the board have a vested interest into the well-being of the students, and said that it shows.
“It is ever so nice to know that when we donate money, it’s not going to pay anyone’s salary, it’s going straight to the students,” he said. “What an experince these grants have made.”
Some grants were awarded to let elementary students attend museums such as the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin, and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Heather Kilgore, kindergarten teacher at CISD, wrote a grant that was accepted for the students to learn on a Promethian ActivTable, which is a table with a 46 inch touch screen designed to help students work on projects together.
“Six students can use it at once,” she said. “There are all kinds of apps pre-loaded on it. They love it. One thing I love about it is it encourages the group to work together.”
With one grant, fourth graders at A.C. Williams Elementary School were able to visit the chamber in Austin, visit with Senator Bob Deuell and learn the process of how to state laws are made.
Commerce Middle School children were able to go to a writing camp and learn how to structure their thoughts and beliefs coherently on the page.
CSEE helped fund the iGive for iPad initiative, which allows every Commerce High School student to learn new technology in innovative ways.
According to Pirkey of these accomplishments could have been completed without the help of CISD Superintendent Blake Cooper.
“No matter what these teachers do, they can’t do it without Mr. Cooper,” he said. “We are in his debt.”
Cooper said he wished to thank Texas A&M University-Commerce for how it has worked with the school district in recent years.
“There truly is a partnership with A&M-Commerce and Commerce ISD,” he said. “We are fortunate to live in a town with a university.”
Foundation Champions, those who gave $200 or more, were recognized during the event:
Alliance Bank, Jean Appleton, Marion and JannelleBiggerstaff, Alton and Louise Biggs, Willie and Paula Blow, Earl and Luanne Bourland, Carolyn Burt, Gene and Betty Casselberry, Commerce Economic Development Corporation, Blake and Tammy Cooper, Susan Faires Dacus, Sue Davis, Emmett Day, James and Toni Deaton, Roger and Margaret Denton, Mack and Patti Doster, Danny and Janet Duncan, June Dunn, Charles and Paula Elliott, Bill and Ruth Ferris, Bill and Sophia Fuhrmeister, Guaranty Bond Bank, Mary and John Hardy, Ernest Hawkins, Gary and Mary Hendrix, Hydro Alumnium, Dorothy Ingram, Dr. Dan and Jalinna Jones, Jerry and Theta Keeble, Jack and Pat Kelly, Glen and Mary Kibler, Loretta Kibler, Mike and Trish King, Kiwanis Club, Dick and Brenda Latson, Lions Club, Wallace and Martha Sue Lowery, Stephen and Sherry Maysonave, Frances Miller, Gilbert and Tammy Naizer, Carr and Donna Newkirk, Bob H and Dianne O’Neal, Nina Parks, Janet Peek, Jack and Beverly Pirkey, Lonnie and James Plunkett, Jim and Claire Reynolds, Chester and Julia Robinson, Al and Glenda Shipp, Charlie and Sharon Smith, Joe and Donna Spinato, Jim and Anne Stahl, Glenn and Diane Stegall, Jim and Donna Tavener, Texas A&M University –Commerce, Wes and Dian Underwood, Randy VanDeven, John and Renee Walker, Ruth Ann White, Wyman and Harriet Williams, Paul and Sheryl Zelhart.