Yokley, Compton, Leonard, Niswonger Named Inaugural 'C.O.R.E.' Honorees
BY SARAH GREGORY
Celebrating the success of Greeneville City Schools alumni and reaffirming a commitment to educational excellence by going "beyond the basics" were primary themes of the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation's inaugural C.O.R.E. Champion Awards Banquet on Thursday night.
Almost 200 persons attended the Foundation-hosted fund-raising event in the ballroom of the General Morgan Inn.
Attendees included many long-time supporters of both the city school system and the Education Foundation, which is separate from the school system itself.
Among those present were Dr. Nancy Moody, president of Tusculum College, and Dr. Brian Noland, president of East Tennessee State University, and his wife, the former Donna Fox of Greeneville.
Highlights of the evening included a keynote address from former Coach Phillip Fulmer and presentations to the recipients of four new Education Foundation awards. (Please see accompanying articles.)
Foundation materials explain that C.O.R.E. awards honor individuals who "Commit to a cause, Optimize their resources, Reinvest in their community, and Equip others for success."
Award-winners are called "champions."
The four C.O.R.E. awards and Champions presented Thursday night were:
* Captain Jordan Yokley, M.D., U.S. Army, Outstanding Young Alumni;
* John C. Compton, Distinguished Alumni;
* Terry Leonard, Distinguished Service; and,
* Scott M. Niswonger, Outstanding Patron.
A PLAN REALIZED
"We've been talking about doing an event like this for a long time," said Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation Executive Director Allison Adams in an interview following the banquet.
"We wanted to get a good group of people together to deliver a concise message about our foundation," she said.
"We wanted to make sure people knew who we were, and that we are committed to go 'beyond the basics' with our support for the school system and its students and teachers," she said.
The Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation was formed in 1996 under the the leadership of the late Kathryn W. (Kay) Leonard, then board chair of the city Board of Education, and the late Dr. Ernest Martin, then Greeneville director of schools.
The purpose of the Education Foundation, its materials state, is to continue the "tradition of excellence" in the city system by serving as a non-profit organization that can undertake additional fund-raising opportunities to support -- and provide additional opportunities for -- students of Greeneville City Schools.
The Foundation has achieved a number of milestones on behalf of Greeneville students since its creation in 1996.
In 2012, however, the Foundation trustees decided to commit to an expanded presence in the community by hiring Adams to serve in a full-time capacity as executive director.
In that role, she now has an office located in the Kathryn W. Leonard Administrative Offices of the Greeneville City School System.
The Foundation offices are shared with the Professional Development Center: a partnership effort of the City School System and the Niswonger Foundation which offers training for Northeast Tennessee educators.
BEYOND THE BASICS
In pursuing its goal of educational excellence "beyond the basics," the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation has since 1996 undertaken a number of fund-raising efforts, established character education awards, applied for and received grants for student-related purposes, provided advocacy training, and taken a variety of other initiatives.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of City Schools programs and equipment have been raised by the Foundation, including funds used to improve educational technology for the schools.
"We've had a lot of support from the community which we absolutely could not do without," Adams said.
"It's a partnership between the community, the school system, and the Foundation's Board of Trustees."
That partnership is designed to enhance the success of the city school system, allowing it to continue a "tradition of excellence."
"I think this [the banquet]was a great event," she said. "We wanted to celebrate the products of the Greeneville City School System. We did that tonight with our Champions."
PRESENTATION OF AWARDS
Dr. Linda Stroud came to the lectern to provide background information about each of the 2013 C.O.R.E. Champions, intermingling references to their many achievements with personal anecdotes about each one.
She also presented each winner with a special crystal "loving cup" trophy engraved with the Education Foundation's logo and the recipient's name and C.O.R.E. award category.
In addition, Dr. Stroud, who is director of schools of the Greeneville City Schools, showed the crowd a large wooden plaque with numerous small brass plates that will be engraved with the C.O.R.E. Champions' names as they are selected year by year.
The plaque will be placed in the main foyer of Greeneville High School.
The event closed with comments from Bob Leonard, son of Terry and the late Kay Leonard. Bob Leonard is now one of the Education Foundation Trustees and a member of its Executive Committee.
He has also served as past chairman of the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation.
He thanked everyone for their attendance and provided information on how to support the Education Foundation going forward.
Cards and envelopes that enabled attendees to make donations or pledges to the foundation were made available in programs at each seat and collected at the end of the evening.
Dr, Craig Shepherd, chair of the Foundation Board of Trustees, served as master of ceremonies for the banquet. The invocation was offered by Craig Ogle, chairman of the Greeneville Board of Education.
Sponsors of the event included the Niswonger Foundation, Tusculum Dental Care, Greeneville Federal Bank, First Tennessee Foundation, LMR Plastics, Tusculum College, Greeneville Orthopedic Clinic, Laughlin Memorial Hospital, Home Federal Bank, Andrew Johnson Bank, Takoma Regional Hospital, Forward Air, Jarden Zinc Products, Greeneville Mayor and Mrs. W.T. Daniels, Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Anderson, Walters State Community College, The Unaka Company, and DTR Tennessee, Inc.