February 6, 2014

APEF speaker discusses her group at Kiwanis

Rich Flowers

The Athens Review


Athens — Sara Gray of the Athens Public Education Foundation said the organization has given more than $84,000 to fund educational programs and more is on the way.


Gray told the Athens Kiwanis Club at Athens Country Club on Tuesday that she has been with APEF since near its beginning, later served on the program committee and was elected president of the organization in January.


“Even though I have been entrenched in it so long, I still find people who don’t know what it is and what we do.” Gray said.


APEF exists, Gray said, to enhance the mission of AISD, and to enhance the quality for all of its students by supporting activities not funded by tax revenue. The foundation solicits funding from private and cooperative sources, and awards grants. The group is made up of volunteers who come from business, community and educational leaders. APEF now has 18 members on its volunteer board.


“We do grants in the fall, and these supply items for teachers to use in their classrooms,” Gray said. “Every campus and every discipline has been funded by grants from APED over the years.


” Each year, the APEF members get on a big, yellow school bus, and drive from campus to campus to award checks to teachers in their classrooms.


“I can honestly say this is my favorite day of the year,” Gray said. “It’s like Christmas, but you get to make tons of people happy.”


The funds give teachers the means to do more with their ‘God-given gift’ for educating our children,” Gray said.


“It’s truly touching to see teachers so thankful, and knowing that what we’re doing makes a difference,” Gray said.


In March, APEF will honor high-achieving students at the Superintendent’s Scholar Banquet.


“Part of the criteria is that they have a 95 or higher in all classes,” Gray said. “They also must have good conduct and no discipline issues.”


Last year, 45 students were honored, and Gray is hoping for more in 2014. Later in the semester, APEF will host the top 20 senior banquet. This will be the third year that APEF has sponsored the dinner.


“This night is about hopes and dreams, and all of their hard work coming together,” Gray said.