Prattville, AL – On Thursday, June 8, 2017 over 200 community supporters gathered at the Marriott Legends Conference Center in Prattville to raise money for Autauga County District Schools. The Autauga Education Foundation (AEF) held their annual A+ Banquet with special guest speaker, Troy Trojan Head Football Coach Neal Brown.
Attendees enjoyed placing bids on various silent auction items donated by local businesses and individuals, mixing and mingling with other guests, and meeting Coach Brown prior to the event’s program. Some of the night’s favorite items up for bid were a full set of braces donated by Petrunic Orthodontics, a quail hunting excursion donated by Bear Creek Quail Hunting, and a set of Hercules Tires donated by Gipson’s Tire Pros. Favorites also included a YETI Hopper-30 donated by Alabama Power and a dinner meet & greet with Cam Newton donated by Coach Chad Anderson and the Prattville High School Athletic Department.
LifeTouch, once again, provided photos during the evening, and for VIP and sponsor level groups, a special photo with Coach Brown. The Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce set the décor of the room in Trojan spirit with shakers and pennants, canvasing the room in Troy’s distinctive black, cardinal, and silver.
The event’s emcee was Mr. Jeremy Arthur, opening the evening with the “State of the Foundation”, sharing what all the organization has accomplished in the past year. He was followed by the Prattville High School ROTC and Ms. Sarah Johnson, 1st grade teacher at Daniel Pratt Elementary, with the presentation of colors and national anthem.
Before introducing their guest speaker for the night, AEF showcased the projects and programs they funded in Autauga County Schools during the 2016-2017 year. Mrs. Christen Harry, Principal at Pine Level Elementary, highlighted the projects funded at her school and the impact they have made on those students. Following the showcase, Mr. Bob Gipson, AEF Board President, announced Ms. Zanesha Rhodes of Autaugaville School as the winner of the Bill Clark Outstanding Student Achievement Scholarship presented by AEF. She received a $500 scholarship for her academic and athletic accomplishments, as well as her community involvement. The organization then paid tribute and announced the establishment of the Jimmy White Scholarship for 2018. Mr. White was a long-time supporter of AEF and a Prattville icon.
Finally, Coach Brown was introduced by Autauga County High School and Troy University graduate, Mr. Max Howell. Coach Brown shared his passion for education and how he grew up in a family of teachers, principals, and coaches. He went on to elaborate how he has instilled that passion for education in his players and encourages them to be better every day.
The AEF is a nonprofit organization that provides sustainable resources and builds community support to ensure academic excellence and strong character development in Autauga County Schools. The Foundation is a separate and independent organization that works in concert with the Autauga County School System to provide support for its goals and objectives. Since the Foundation’s establishment in 1995, over $350,000 has been granted to Autauga County District Schools, enhancing educational programs and student experiences throughout the county.
Special Thanks to:
Gold Sponsors: Jostens, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, and Wind Creek Hospitality
Silver Sponsors: Autauga County Education Association/AEA, CBE, Inc. Gipson’s Tire Pros, International Paper, and Marbury Steel
Coach Neal Brown and Troy University
Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce
Kohls Department Store
AEF Board of Directors and A+ Committee Members:
President: Robert A. Gipson
Banquet Chair: Clay McConnell
Dean Argo, Pam Frederick, Will Epperson, Ken Burton, Robby Anderson, Jeremy Arthur, Beth Baulch, Willis Bradford, Reid Cavnar, Claudia Connell, Charlann Jones, Horace Powell, Dot Sanford, Jimmy Sanford, Tracye Strichik, Spence Agee, Christine Alexander, Stacy Mills, Martin Peters, Roger Stiflemire, Patty Vanderwal, and Joy White.