Education Foundation holds annual gala
By PAMELA GRANT
Smiles and good-natured laughs were shared all around as CCISD superintendent Joe Burns and deputy superintendent Rick Kirkpatrick donned fancy women’s hats on Saturday night at the annual Boots & Buckles Gala for the Copperas Cove Education Foundation.
To entice bidders to become more generous during the live auction, Burns offered to wear the many-feathered hat of Copperas Cove Education Foundation President, Etta Kay Kirkpatrick, should the next item raise at least $500.
After said item garnered $500 and Burns donned the lovely hat, he dragged Kirkpatrick into it, announcing that the man would wear his wife’s equally feathered hat should the next item receive at least $500 as well. After the next item went for $500, and Kirkpatrick’s wife bestowed her hat upon her husband, audience members whipped out their cellphones snapping as many pictures as they could of the two men in their new headgear.
Thanks to many generous donors, this year’s Boots & Buckles, themed Run for the Roses, was another success. The gala featured both a silent and a live auction to raise money for the foundation. They also had live music provided by Fireside Band, dinner catered by Five Loaves Two Fish, dancing, photo opportunities, and special guest speaker Dr. Christina Bache.
All money raised at Saturday’s gala will go to the Copperas Cove Education Foundation which seeks to enrich and enhance educational opportunities for CCISD students.
“This is our main fundraiser that we have every year. We count on the money that is raised during this time to fund our innovative grants for teachers and scholarships,” said Kelly Avritt, Vice President of Marketing and Events for the CCEF. “We really count on this event to make that happen.”
Last year, the foundation awarded $38,494 to 31 teachers in nine different schools. Since 2008, the foundation has awarded a total of $270,043. The money is spent on innovative classroom programs and ideas. The foundation also honors the top 10 percent of CCHS seniors each year in May with the Senior Walk of Fame, when they also honor the teacher that each student has chosen as having the greatest impact on their education. Also in May, the CCEF will award a $4,000 scholarship to be paid out in $1,000 increments over four years.
“I love it. The foundation just does a great job in making sure that our teachers have the opportunity to really afford creative and interesting things that maybe the district doesn’t have the funds outside of regular supplies to pay for,” said Burns. “It’s always important to recognize and honor those students who have worked really hard throughout their school career to be top ten percent of their class. Those are things that are really important, and we appreciate the foundation doing that.”
“Each child in our district has the potential to do great things, and some of them start out behind their peers through no fault of their own. Some kids come to school without a lot of hope because they exist in crisis…Learning offers them the vision of a future,” said Dr. Karen Harrison. She added that, looking at the children in a 1st grade class, you never know which ones will be able to accomplish something great given the right spark, and it’s up to the teachers to ignite that flame. “Our teachers come up with creative ways to spark a student’s interest, but these ideas often do not fit into the footprint of the school’s budget, and this is where the foundation can help.”
Guest speaker this year was Christina Bache, humanitarian and international speaker as well as a CCHS graduate from the class of 1998. Bache is the co-chair of the International Crisis Group’s Ambassador Council and is a member of the United Nations Business for Peace/Principles for Responsible Management Education working group.
“It is a delight to be back here in Copperas Cove, especially to celebrate our teachers and the love of learning,” said Bache.
Bache said that she attended the event because Coach Hagen Streckel played a large role in her high school career. She said he not only piqued her interest in history, geography, and global affairs, but he was also a source of emotional support. She said she remembers everything he did for her whenever she mentors young people in return.
Bache’s speech focused on the idea of peace as well as the idea of women playing a larger role in political fields.