$42,648: Lamar Co. School District donates big bucks through annual campaign

By BETH BUNCH,

The Lamar County School District is always excited to receive donations from individuals, groups, the PTO, booster clubs and the like. But this year, as in years past, district employees and students turned the giving around and presented the United Way with $42,648 toward this year’s campaign.

During this month’s school board meeting, the United Way recognized the Top 3 fundraising groups in the district and awarded certificates. This year’s winners were first place – Oak Grove Primary, $7,278; second place – Purvis Lower, $5,678; third place – District Office, $5,505.

Jeanne Williamson, an administrative assistant with the district, has been heading up the district’s campaign for a number of years.

Williamson said the district’s campaign normally runs from October through around Dec. 11.  

“We set a date to have everything turned in before we leave for Christmas break,” she said. “And all of our totals are then verified by United Way.”

According to Supt. Tess Smith, United Way is one of the two major campaigns the district does each year.

“Each school has a coordinator who works with our district coordinator,” Smith said. “The goal is always to raise the maximum funds. As district level incentives, I have done everything from kissing animals to allowing elementary students to turn my head into an ice cream sundae. If we have a good time while raising money for these causes, then that is a plus. I am so thankful for our hard-working coordinators as well as those people are who so willing to give to such a worthy cause.” 

Williamson’s goal since serving as the LCSD coordinator is $100,000. 

“That is so attainable, but we just haven't reached it yet,” Williamson said. “But I am going to keep striving each year. I want Lamar County School District to make a difference.”

She explained that each school has a coordinator who does a yeoman’s job striving to get 100 percent employee participation, along with planning fundraiser events for the students.

“If we had every employee in this district to just give $10 per month, we would exceed that goal,” Williamson said. “We have many that go above and beyond that amount and we are so thankful for them.”

In the past five years, the school has donated $203,158 to the United Way with 2017 being a big year with a $50,371 contribution.

“United Way of Southeast Mississippi envisions a community where all individuals and families achieve their potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives,” said Tracie Fowler, United Way executive director. “Our partnership with local school districts is vital to making this possible. Lamar County School District stands as a leader in our annual fundraising efforts. We are thankful for all that they do.”  

To raise the funds, a number of activities are held across the district. Williamson said other than employees’ pledges (monthly contributions), some schools conduct various fundraisers such as:  hat day, movie day, pajama day (elementary students only), jean day, T-shirt sales, tape an administrator to the wall, pin in face contests, spirit day dress up and raffles.

“My goal is to have our campaign personalized at each campus and educate our employees as to why we are doing this and why it is important,” Williamson said. “I still have work to do in that area. Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. But I tell them...because of YOU, someone, somewhere will be blessed.”

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