‘We are thrilled’Published 4:00pm Thursday, February 28, 2013
Schools in four counties received grants Thursday from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, more than $2 million in money earmarked for projects including new technology and school safety.
The tribe presented checks to schools in Escambia County (Ala.), Escambia County (Fla.), Monroe County and Baldwin County during a special ceremony at Wind Creek Casino and Hotel.
“We believe education is the cornerstone of building bright futures,” PCI Vice Chairman Stephanie Bryan told the crowd. “It is important that our educators have the right tools.”
Huxford Elementary School, whose leadership sent three grant proposals to the tribe, saw the biggest payday of all non-collegiate schools, with PCI donating a total of $250,406.20.
Huxford Principal Greg Shehan said the money will make a huge difference for students at HES. “We are just thrilled,” Shehan said. “This money was much needed. We’re just so thankful to the tribe.” Shehan said the donations will go towards upgrading HES’ technology, safety precautions and classroom improvements.
Jefferson Davis Community College’s Atmore campus
and nursing program received $500,000 Thursday from the tribe, while $1,044,637.63 was dispersed amongst all other Atmore area and Flomaton schools, including: A.C. Moore Elementary School, $62,550; Atmore Christian School, $20,000; Escambia Academy, $138,621.50; Escambia County High School, $128,465.02; Escambia County Middle School, $135,000; Flomaton Elementary School, $75,063.30; Flomaton High School, $117, 396.86; Huxford Elementary School, $250,406.20; Rachel Patterson Elementary, $117,134.75. PCI also donated a total of $156,743.68 to Baldwin County Schools, including: Baldwin County High School, $66,743.68; Bay Minette Intermediate School, $15,000; Perdido Elementary/Middle School, $90,000. An additional $251,454.77 was donated to schools in northwest Escambia County (Fla.), including: Bratt Elementary School, $82,212.90; Byrneville Elementary School, $54,647.21; Ernest Ward Middle School, $58,000; Northview High School, $56,594.66 J.U. Blacksher School, located in Monroe County, also received a donation of $114,173.
Dennis Fuqua, interim principal at Escambia County High School, also voiced his thanks to the tribe for their contributions.
“This very exciting,” he said. “We are very appreciative and thankful to the tribal council for this money that will go to further our students’ educations.” Fuqua said the funds will be used mainly for technology upgrades and renovations to the school’s auditorium. Escambia County Superintendent Randall Little said the money will be an incredible help to all schools involved. “This is monumental for us,” Little said. “We’re most appreciative to the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. They have always been generous philanthropists. This is just more icing on a well-baked cake.”
Little also expressed thanks to all of the principals and staff members at the various schools for their work in drafting grant proposals to be submitted to PCI for consideration in determining donation amounts, as well as to Assistant Superintendent John Knott and Chief Financial Officer Julie Madden for their “hard work” in carrying out the application process.
Little said, while schools in the Brewton area were not eligible for grants by standards set by the tribe, four additional grants of $30,000 each have been applied for for W.S. Neal High School, W.S. Neal Middle School, W.S. Neal Elementary and Pollard-McCall Junior High School. Tribal Council Chairman Buford Rolin said the tribe is proud to be able to continue in their financial support of local schools.
“Over the past couple of years the tribe has made several significant donations to education,” Rolin said. “We are proud to be able to donate again this year.” Bryan said donating money to education is one of the most important functions the tribe carries out. “The children that go to these schools belong to our family, our neighbors and our employees,” she said. “These donations are an investment in our future.”