Tish Creech, along with other parents, faculty members and gifted and talented specialist in the area felt the need to create an organization that will help meet the needs of GT students throughout Ellis County. The Ellis County Association for Academic Excellence is an organization that recently received nonprofit status in the state of Texas, and is seeking to become a nationally recognized 501 3(c) foundation.

Serving as the organization's chairperson, Creech said understanding the mission and purpose of the organization was of great importance, and now they can move forward with assisting students in the area.

“Our ultimate goal is become like the education foundation, but for gifted and talented students,” Creech said. “We realize that we must start out small and work our way up to that.”

The mission of the organization is to support the development of gifted, talented and advanced learners through advocacy, exemplary programs and practices.

“We want to connect educators and parents to provide social and educational opportunities for students who fall in this category,” she said. “The way we will seek to do that is through awareness, advocacy and action. Our goal is to ensure all GT children have the opportunity to reach their full educational, emotional and social potential.”

Creech added they would love the ability to use the funds to help send GT students to camps on university campuses such as Duke University. They would also like to provide money for students to take field trips to the Perot Museum and local four-year universities.

A short-term goal of the organization, which they are looking to begin this school year, is to provide a lunch bunch for elementary school students. Creech said they would like to bring in speakers and utilize high school GT students as mentors.

“We would love to see a mentor program birthed out of this,” she said. “We want to see high school students partnered with elementary school students. We also want to see alumni become mentors to high school GT students.”

Creech said it's important for GT students in the county to see that they are not alone.

“These students have a different way of learning and processing information,” she said. “They need to see that there are others who have been where they are and were able to become successful.”

She said they want every student to realize that if they want to go to Duke or Harvard, that it's not out of reach.

Coordinator of Curriculum and Instruction for the Waxahachie Independent School District Shelly Blaylock is working alongside Creech to ensure the success of the organization. Blaylock is a certified elementary school teacher, and taught school for 15 years before joining the curriculum department. She also taught GT students and is the mother of a GT students.

“I wanted to be involved because I have unique perspective,” Blaylock said. “I can see things from both angles, as an educator and a teacher.”

Blaylock said she is very passionate about the GT program and believes that only good things can come out an organization like ECAAE.

“We already had a dynamic program,” she said. “The GT specialist are exceptional and really give all they have to these students. They are a wealth of information and are available to every student in the school building. The association is only going to solidify their roles and make things easier and more accessible for them and the students.”

Creech said that as they grow, she would love to have a WISD staff member and parent liaison on each campus that will work closely with the organization. She believes this will help them better meet the needs of the students on each campus.

For more information about the organization, contact Tish Creech at 214-435-3760 or email tishcreech@yahoo.com.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.