Hundreds of individuals representing Waxahachie ISD staff, volunteers and supporters came together for the annual Partners In Education appreciation luncheon Wednesday at the Southwestern Assemblies of God University’s Sheaffer Full Life Center.

The event sported a wild west theme complete with music and a host of actors dressed in western attire to personify “Blazing a Trail in Excellence.”

Wildflower bouquets wrapped in colorful bandanas decorated the tables as attendees were treated to a barbecue lunch buffet.

“We are much obliged that you hitched up your wagon, saddled your horses and galloped over here today to join us today. We are having this jamboree to let you know how much the Waxahachie Independent School District appreciates all of your efforts,” Cindy Hess, Partners In Education advisory co-chair, said, thanking the event sponsor Citizens National Bank of Texas.

The Partners In Education advisory board Special Recognition Award was presented to the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, president and CEO Debra Wakeland and staff, for their support of Waxahachie schools. Each year the chamber participates in WISD’s annual Drop Everything and Read Day, the Go Van Gogh fine arts program and Operation First Day of School. The chamber also encourages community education through its support of Lighthouse for Learning.

Marvin Elementary School recognized Hope Clinic and Dr. Peggy Linguist for providing the opportunity for its students to “get a jump on dental hygiene.”

Dunaway Elementary School honored Lowes for contributing new plants for the school’s garden, a project developed through a grant from the Education Foundation.

Northside Elementary School recognized Chris Bearden Farmers Insurance Group for hours of volunteering to mentor and serve the students and his participation with the “Dads at the Door” family engagement program.

Shackelford Elementary School thanked Bealls Department Store – Jim Jordan, Stuart Stephenson and the Bealls employees – for their support reading, tutoring and engaging with students through the Adopt-A-Class program.

Wedgeworth Elementary School recognized the Builder’s Class from First United Methodist Church for its presence on a regular basis to tutor, spend time reading or play academic games with Wedgeworth students.

Felty Elementary School thanked the employees of the city of Waxahachie Sports Complex and James Villarreal for going above and beyond to make the complex accessible and user-friendly for students.

Clift Middle School honored Exxon Mobile Educational Alliance Program representatives for a grant to further math and science programs and thanked Walid Alameddine, vice president of Victron Energy, for his efforts in securing the funding.

Finley Seventh Grade Center extended thanks to CiCi’s Pizza for its support of the Positive Behavior Support initiative, which places emphasis on rewarding a student’s good behavior.

Howard Eighth Grade Center honored Scott and Deborah Green from The Greenery for supporting student initiatives including Red Ribbon Week and Alcohol Awareness Month by providing red tulip bulbs.

Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy praised Dart Container of Texas for donations of plates, cups, eating utensils and gift cards for its Academy Awards and monthly staff luncheons.

Waxahachie High School recognized Southwestern Assemblies of God University for volunteer time serving students in art, choir, science and English.

Waxahachie Global High School extended special thanks to Navarro College for its partnership providing college level classes to students working toward an associate’s degree while completing high school.

The WISD curriculum department honored Hastings Entertainment for partnering with the elementary literacy coaches to host “Latte and Literature” and supporting the development of lifelong learning through reading for enjoyment.

Businesses, organizations and individuals that volunteered 100 or more hours were recognized. Holly Pike, Stephanie Bowman, Crystal Trevino, Mary Schueler, Edward Quintana and Lisa Hoops were recognized for 500-plus hours of volunteer service, with Lisa Popp (900 hours) and Justin Bell (1,000 hours).

“Partners, y’all have stoked the fire and helped WISD blaze the trail for excellence,” Theresa McNeil said in closing.

The theme for next year’s appreciation event will be “Lights, Cameras, Action – Spotlight on Student Success.”

The Partners In Education Program is supported on every campus through the work of volunteers who give their time to make a difference in the lives of students.

Volunteer programs within WISD include Go Van Gogh, Adopt-A-Class, Guest Speakers, Marvin Readers, WISD Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program, Grandfriend’s Week, Drop Everything and Read and Job Shadowing. Additionally PTO-related volunteer opportunities are available on all campuses as well as booster clubs supporting academic, athletic, band, cheerleading and drill team areas. Partners In Education works with PTOs through the district’s Parent Council Organization.

Contact rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.