Hosted by Greystone Power Co., the event brought the business community together to commit support to partner with schools and develop plans to affect student achievement.
Douglas County School Superintendent Gordon Pritz explained the need for community support of the schools.
“The task of public school education is great today, and we could not do it by ourselves. Public education is under attack and there are those out there that wish it to fail,” he said.
Pritz reflected on his childhood heroes at the western-themed event, citing his biggest hero, Chuck Connors of TV’s “The Rifleman” fame.
“My biggest hero was Chuck Connors,” he reminisced. “because he was a good guy, but you didn’t mess around with him.”
He encouraged the audience “to remember the lessons and character lessons the show taught. Public education is under attack and we need people to support us.”
“Be our heroes. You’re their Chuck Connors.”
During the 2011-12 school year, there were 300 active partnerships in the program.
According to Karen Stroud, school system community relations director, the program is designed to offer a hands-on opportunity for local businesses and organizations to share their expertise, time, ideas and experience to enrich the students in the community. Partners agree to specific goals and activities for the benefit of students.
A business can partner with one school or multiple schools or partner with the school system as a whole providing everything from money to goods and services, she explained.
Greystone Power is a longtime supporter of the program, said Harshbarger.
“As a cooperative, one of our main focuses is a commitment to education and the community. We want to help build the best community we can for all of our members and want to support education in every way we can,” she said.
As an example, Greystone partners with neighboring Beulah Elementary School. The employees travel to the school and read with those who need some extra one-on-one help. Sometimes the partner is asked to participate in special events at the school, such as judging a science fair.
One partner provided ribbons to students who read a certain number of books. Another partner, Randall Jones of the Flower Cottage, delivers a flower to each teacher at his partner school on her birthday, Harshbarger said.
Partners help with other school system activities, such as Shadow Day, Teacher of the Year and the upcoming Family Fun Day to be held Oct. 27 at Foxhall Farm and Sporting Club.