LISD Foundation: maximizing opportunities for students, teachers
By Kay Ray, Executive Director
In the early 1990’s, the late Mickey Melton, Longview High School graduate, husband and son of educators, father of three daughters in LISD schools, and school board trustee, had a vision for the district: to have a non-profit education foundation that would raise funds and support and improve educational programs in Longview ISD. Mickey knew that state school funding would continue to be an issue for school districts, so without fanfare, Mickey organized a group of community members who began the necessary work to form that education foundation. In 1995, he launched the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. whose mission is to request, receive, maintain, and use funds to maximize the quality of education available in Longview ISD.
As the 2016-2017 school year begins, the Foundation begins its twenty-second year of fulfilling its mission of maximizing the quality of education for all LISD students. That mission, however, has only been realized because of the overwhelming support of our community.
Knowing that LISD schools need additional funding, some of our city’s favorites restaurants graciously offer to host fundraising events for the Foundation with the proceeds directly benefiting the Great Rewards for Great Ideas Grant Program and the Campus Initiative Grant Program. By enjoying a delicious meal at these restaurants, you can help the Foundation purchase educational materials for classroom instruction. Enjoy a Chick-fil-A sandwich and waffle fries and put Legos for hands-on math instruction in a first grade classroom. Enjoy your favorite salad or sandwich at McAlister’s Deli and put cooking equipment in the hands of Longview High School culinary arts students so that someday they can become a chef or own a restaurant. Indulge yourself with famous chicken strips and dipping sauce at Raising Cane’s and place iPads and digital cameras before students eager to learn through technology. Wake up your taste buds with a spicy burrito, burrito bowl or taco at Chipotle and give talented, creative art students power tools so they can create metal sculptures to beautify a Longview park. Join the Longview ISD Foundation at these restaurant partnerships during the first semester of school, and you will make these learning experiences possible for students for years to come. Please support the Foundation’s restaurant nights as generously as these local restaurants support the Longview ISD Foundation.
Each April, the Longview ISD Foundation hosts the Lamplighter Awards held at Pinecrest Country Club. At the dinner, a student from each LISD campus publicly thanks his or her special educator, someone whom the student will carry in his heart and mind forever. This inspirational evening is possible only because of the event’s many sponsors: local businesses, alumni, parents, and individuals who believe in LISD’s students and staff. The awards event has become a signature event for the Foundation, one treasured by LISD campus personnel. The educator honorees continue to say that the event is special because receiving the praise and thanks of a student is the highest honor an educator can receive. Attend this year’s banquet on Thursday, April 6, 2017, and listen to the touching tributes that loving, appreciative students give to their special educators. If you ever doubted the influence of a good teacher, the Lamplighter Awards will remove that doubt. Become a sponsor of the event, and you will contribute directly to the funding of the Foundation’s grant programs. As you listen to the students’ remarks, you will be reminded of the special educators from your school days while being grateful that today’s students are surrounded by dedicated, caring educators who give so much to students every day.
As football season continues, please wear your 2016 Green Out t-shirt and show your Lobo pride as the Lobos continue their winning tradition. Fifteen years of Green Out t-shirt sales have certainly enabled the Foundation to fund many classroom and campus grants. Thank you for purchasing your t-shirt because, for one example, that purchase enabled students at Longview Early Graduation High School to travel to Galveston to visit a working offshore oil platform and learn about careers in the energy field that they might pursue and to the U. S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Fort Worth and learn about careers with the U. S. Treasury. Just as the Lobos win on the field, you helped a LEGHS student explore viable career options so that he or she might have a winning future.
The board members of the Longview ISD, Inc. are volunteers who give their time and talents in support of LISD. Just as Mickey Melton worked quietly behind the scenes to start the Foundation, these men and women work quietly to raise and manage funds so that teachers can ask for grant funding for a project or program that will inspire and motivate students. They attend meetings, serve on committees, read and evaluate grants, and organize fundraising events because they believe in LISD’s teachers and students. Mickey believed, and the Foundation’s members believe that they can provide much needed community support for LISD teachers. Each of us owes them a big thank you.
As a friend of the late Mickey Melton’s, I know that he lived by John Wesley’s words: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Through its volunteer board members, the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. continues to do all the good it can for all the people in our schools that it can. The Foundation has done its work for the past twenty-two years, funding 626 grants and returning $626,468 to LISD campuses and classrooms through its annual Great Rewards for Great Ideas Grant Program. In addition to these grants, since 2008, the Longview ISD Foundation, Inc. has funded twenty-five Campus Initiative Grants for a total of $65,738.62 to improve overall student achievement on LISD campuses. The Foundation looks forward to adding to that amount this school year.
We invite you to do all you can this year to support the Longview ISD Foundation so that it can continue to maximize educational opportunities for all students in LISD!
For more information please contact Longview ISD Foundation Executive Director Kay Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org or (903) 452-7015.