The Geary Community Schools Foundation is a non-profit, charitable, tax-exempt fund supported by private individuals, businesses and other organizations. The idea was born in 2002 by former USD 475 School Superintendent Mary Devin and legal counsel for the school district, Mark Edwards, to establish a public education foundation for supporting the schools in USD 475. The foundation offers special program opportunities and funds to enhance the learning environment and increase the effectiveness of instruction in USD 475 public schools. It also helps to strengthen and expand the relationships between the schools and communities. The mission of the Foundation is to enhance the quality of education in USD 475 public schools, to enlarge the resources available to this school system and to structure a partnership between the schools, and the parents, businesses, and community toward achieving educational excellence. Activities of the foundation include:
- Awarding grants to educators to expand and enrich educational opportunities for students
- Awarding and administering scholarships to students and teachers to further their education.
- Receiving monetary gifts which will benefit learning opportunities
- Involving community members in school improvement
Individuals, civic groups, businesses, alumni of Geary County Schools, parent groups, and school employees are all encouraged to consider contributions to the Geary Community Schools Foundation as a way to directly enhance the quality of education in USD 475. All gifts to the foundation are tax deductible.
The first Celebration of Teaching Banquet in USD 475 took place the first Monday in May of 2005. It has continued for the 13 years, always the first Monday in May to coincide with National Teacher Appreciation Week. It honors USD 475 teachers, administrators and Board of Education members for their dedication and commitment to the students of our district. The Junction City High School Jazz Band performs for thirty minutes prior to the start of the banquet. Along with a nice meal, there is a keynote speaker, who is a successful, former graduate or student of our schools. At the event, grants awarded by the foundation earlier in the year, are highlighted in a video presentation and teacher scholarships are awarded. Greetings from the Commanding General of Fort Riley or a designated representative are extended. The company that coordinates the card-fundraiser, held by the Geary Community Schools Foundation at the beginning of the school year, donates $1,000 for a drawing in increments of $100 for teachers in attendance. In recent years, a drawing for a $1,000 KSU-Department of Education scholarship also takes place. The superintendent gives closing remarks.
The expense for the Geary Community Schools Foundation Celebration of Teaching Banquet is covered in full by donations from businesses in our community and the surrounding area, along with individuals, who value education in USD 475. Donations range from $5,000 to $20. This is a big undertaking and the Geary Community Schools Foundation appreciates all donations.
The 2017 keynote guest speaker was Shante Moore. Shante came to Junction City in the 6th grade, attending Westwood Elementary. From Westwood Elementary he moved to Ft. Riley Junior High and graduated from JCHS in 1992. Shante received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Kansas State University in 1996 and his Master of Science degree from Georgetown University’s Foreign Service Program in 2000. During the 1990’s he was named a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, a Truman Scholar, a Fulbright Scholar in Paraguay and a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow. He joined the Foreign Service in 2000 serving as a Foreign Service Officer in five successive overseas tours beginning in Kuwait, followed by Qatar, Kosovo, Nicaragua, and Afghanistan. Shante currently serves as Deputy Director of the Office of Aviation Negotiations where he is responsible for advancing the U.S. Open Skies policy and negotiating bilateral and multilateral Open Skies agreements. He is fluent in Spanish, as well as, professionally proficient in Arabic and Dari. Shante spoke to interested students on Tuesday at the Junction City High School during seminar.
Article written by Margie Pinaire, Foundation President