The Oracle School District’s dream of making its Kindergarten Prep preschool program available to more children will soon become reality. Thanks to the Oracle Schools Foundation Board’s hard work and the incredible generosity of community members, the “Toast to Teachers” Gala 2015 was a huge success. The event celebrated the District’s teachers while bringing in almost $16,500 to help fund preschool scholarships. Chantel Sloan, a District kindergarten teacher, said, “Thank you so much for making Oracle teachers feel so honored and special! We are going great places and the future is exciting!”
Almost 150 were in attendance at SaddleBrooke’s The Vistas restaurant. The District’s music teacher, Kaitlynn Miller, and her friend Johnny Vargas entertained guests with strings background music during the social hour and the Mt. Vista Elementary School Folklorico Dancers delighted them during dinner. The keynote speakers were Reagan Martin and Allison Soule, co-presidents of the Mt. Vista National Junior Honor Society. Their articulate, extremely well presented speech paid tribute to the District’s teachers and explained how growing up in a small town is not stopping them from pursuing big dreams.
Big dreams are the first step in achieving big successes. The Oracle Schools Foundation’s dream is its vision, “A beacon of excellence in public education.” Twenty-eight individuals and businesses supported that vision by sponsoring tables as well as teachers and their guests. District teachers and their guests attended free and were given gift baskets to take home with them.
A live auction wrapped up the event with attendees bidding on donated artwork; a week at a five-bedroom house in Maine and a house on the Jersey Shore; and a catered party. Guests were also very generous in purchasing raffle tickets, and others made donations at the event.
“This is just the beginning,” said Ed Hartman, President of the Oracle Schools Foundation Board. “Our current focus is to ensure every child in the District has the opportunity to attend preschool. We estimate there are 30 to 50 children residing in the District who are unable to attend preschool due to the approximately $3,000 it costs to enroll. We want to offer need-based scholarships to help reach those children.”
Preschool is critical in ensuring children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and the payback can be as high as $7 for every $1 spent. Much of this is in cost avoidance as disadvantaged, at-risk children who don’t receive a high-quality early childhood education are 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% to become a teen parent, 50% to be placed in special education (which is often much more expensive than the mainstream), 60% to never attend college and 70% to be arrested for a violent crime. One of our Nation’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” He may not have been referring to preschool, but there can hardly be a better example. For more information, go to www.OracleSchoolsFoundation.com.