Prattville, AL – On Thursday, June 23, 2016 over 300 community supporters gathered at the Marriott Legends Conference Center in Prattville to raise money for Autauga County’s public schools. The Autauga Education Foundation (AEF) held their annual A+ Banquet with special guest speaker, UAB Head Football Coach, Bill Clark.

Clark coached at Prattville High School from 1999-2008, leading the Lions to two back-to-back Alabama State High School Athletic Association state championships for the 2006 and 2007 seasons. In 2014 Clark was hired as head coach at UAB and will lead the Blazers out of the tunnel for their return to the football field on September 2, 2017.

For the past 11 years, the Foundation’s A+ Banquet has become a favorite amongst contributors in the area. Through the success of the Banquet, proceeds in excess of $300,000.00 have been granted to enhance academic programs and student educational experiences throughout Autauga County. This year’s event continued to be a success. Attendees socialized during the VIP Reception where they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a meet and greet with Coach Clark. LifeTouch provided a photo station for VIP guests to have their picture taken with the coach. Guests and VIPs mingled through the conference center’s lobby placing bids on various silent auction items donated by local businesses and individuals. Some of the night’s favorites were a full set of braces donated by Petrunic Orthodontics, a Tundra-35 YETI cooler donated by Alabama Power, and a set of Hercules Tires donated by Gipsons Tire Pros. Favorites also included 4 rounds of golf donated by RTJ at Capitol Hill and a Catered Wine Dinner donated by AEF Board Members Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Sanford, Sugar B’s Catering, and Queen Meats & Wine.

As the doors opened for dinner, guests and sponsors located their tables while making their way through the elegantly decorated room. The Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce created a vision of green and gold, paying tribute to Coach Clark’s Blazers. Beautiful floral centerpieces adorned each table, which were illuminated by tiny tea lights.

Before introducing their guest speaker for the night, the Autauga Education Foundation revealed their new logo and announced the winner of their recent logo contest. Marbury High School student, Ms. Cherish Womack, was recognized for her creativity in designing the Foundation’s logo. She was also presented with a $500 scholarship. Amy Capps, AEF Program Manager, then called upon guests to invest in the County’s public schools and our children’s future by joining the Foundation’s Membership program. AEF Board Member, Dean Argo then introduced Coach Clark. Clark spoke of his coaching career thus far and shared his coaching philosophy. “We are a family. We are there for each other and that’s first and foremost”, said Clark.

This year’s Banquet raised roughly $45,000! As the 14th largest school system in the State of Alabama, it is unfortunately one of the lowest funded. The Foundation’s vision is to enhance educational opportunities for the benefit of the community in Autauga County. Founded in 1995, AEF is a nonprofit organization whose fundraising efforts provide sustainable resources and community support which may not otherwise be available to the Autauga County District School System.

Special Thanks to:
Presenting Sponsor Wind Creek Hospitality
Gold Sponsors Jostens and Poarch Band of Creek Indians
Silver Sponsor International Paper
Bill and Jennifer Clark
AEF Board of Directors and A+ Committee Members:
President: Kenneth B. Burton
Banquet Chair: Clay McConnell
Spence Agee, Christine Alexander, Robby Anderson, Dean R. Argo, Jeremy Arthur, Willis Bradford, Reid Cavnar, Pam Frederick, Robert A. Gipson, Stacy Mills, Martin Peters, Horace Powell, Dot Sanford, Jimmy Sanford, Patty Vanderwal, and Joy White

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