Archive for Saturday, September 1, 2007

Nashville musician helps raise money for schools

Breakfast brings in nearly $47K

September 1, 2007

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Annual breakfast benefits Lawrence schools

Praise for the arts, record fundraising numbers and a serenade from a Nashville musician with Lawrence ties highlighted the 6th Annual Lawrence Schools Community Education Breakfast. Enlarge video

Superintendent Randy Weseman, left, and Nashville musician Chuck Mead, a 1979 Lawrence High School graduate, play a song Friday during the sixth annual Community Education Breakfast at the Lawrence Holidome. About 450 people attended the breakfast where Mead, the keynote speaker and BR549 frontman, gave a humorous speech about his years in Lawrence. Mead said his experience growing up in local schools helped foster his love and interest in music.

Superintendent Randy Weseman, left, and Nashville musician Chuck Mead, a 1979 Lawrence High School graduate, play a song Friday during the sixth annual Community Education Breakfast at the Lawrence Holidome. About 450 people attended the breakfast where Mead, the keynote speaker and BR549 frontman, gave a humorous speech about his years in Lawrence. Mead said his experience growing up in local schools helped foster his love and interest in music.

Children from the East Heights Early Childhood Center sing a song Friday during the Community Education Breakfast. From left are Henry Selig, Hannah Reese, and twins Elise and Amanda Ochieng.

Children from the East Heights Early Childhood Center sing a song Friday during the Community Education Breakfast. From left are Henry Selig, Hannah Reese, and twins Elise and Amanda Ochieng.

Chuck Mead, a 1979 Lawrence High School graduate, admits his teachers wouldn't describe him as a dream student.

The Nashville musician and BR549 frontman relayed story after ornery story Friday morning to about 450 people, entertaining them with tales about his days in Lawrence public schools.

Although Mead talked about torturing teachers and coaches - including quitting his South Junior High football team on Labor Day because he decided he'd rather watch the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon - he said Lawrence schools helped foster his love and interest in music.

"I learned a whole lot by just showing up, and I was allowed to participate in what I was interested in," Mead said.

He capped his keynote speech at the sixth annual Community Education Breakfast by singing and strumming guitar with Superintendent Randy Weseman.

During the breakfast at the Lawrence Holidome, education leaders also highlighted the achievements of 13 students in fine arts and announced record fundraising numbers for the sixth annual event.

Donations to the Lawrence Schools Foundation event neared $47,000, which is $5,000 more than was raised last year.

Susan Esau, executive director of the Lawrence Schools Foundation, said the donations will help the district in several ways, such as providing funds for early childhood programs and arts programs.

"Our schools would not be where they are today without the community supporting this foundation," Weseman said to an audience that included educators, Lawrence business leaders and elected officials.

Carladyne Knox Conyers, of Lawrence, and Nancy Knox Todd, a Colorado state representative, presented a $10,000 check on behalf of their father, Carl Knox, a longtime Lawrence superintendent. That gift will re-establish the Carl Knox Staff Development Fund. They also presented another donation in honor of their mother, Dorothy, to be used for the early childhood center.

The Lawrence Schools Foundation started in 1983 as the Carl Knox Endowment Association.

Entertainment for the event included the marching bands for LHS and Free State. Even though they'd only been in school for six days, a class from the East Heights Early Childhood Family Center sang and danced.

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