Community breakfast highlights $1.5 million given to Lawrence Public Schools

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

The Lawrence High School band plays before the start of the 2018 Lawrence Schools Foundation Community Education Breakfast Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, at the DoubleTree Hilton conference center.

The Lawrence community raised more than $470,000 in donations last year for public schools, and Lawrence’s superintendent told a large crowd Friday morning that he already has another goal for the district.

“I’ve read where Lawrence is the most educated community in Kansas,” Superintendent Anthony Lewis said at the Lawrence Schools Foundation Community Education Breakfast. “If so, it just makes sense that Lawrence should have the best school district in Kansas.”

Lewis didn’t stop there, though. He threw out a challenge.

“I’ve told people that I’m sick and tired of hearing about Blue Valley,” Lewis said of a highly ranked Johnson County school district. “Mark it down. Blue Valley, we’re coming for you.”

About 600 people attended the 17th annual breakfast at the DoubleTree Hilton conference center. Dena Johnston, executive director of the Lawrence Schools Foundation, highlighted the $1.5 million in support the foundation has provided to the school district in the last five years, including scholarships to students and classroom grants to teachers and other educators.

“As I was interviewing for this job, I continually had people telling me that Lawrence supports its schools,” said Lewis, who began as superintendent in July. “This is a real testament to what everybody told me.”

Darryl Monroe, a 1990 Lawrence High graduate and standout baseball player at the University of Kansas, was the keynote speaker. Monroe, who is a scout for the New York Yankees, told the crowd that his time in Lawrence’s district was invaluable to teaching him perseverance as he tried to make a career as a professional baseball player before eventually determining he needed to change career goals.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn

Lawrence Superintendent Anthony Lewis talks with Darryl Monroe, the keynote speaker at the 2018 Lawrence Schools Foundation Community Education Breakfast on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, at the DoubleTree Hilton conference center.

“When you are somebody like me who started playing baseball at 7 years old, you don’t really dream as a kid of growing up to be a professional baseball scout,” Monroe said. “I was dreaming of being a professional player and hitting the game-winning home run in the World Series.”

Also at the event, the schools foundation honored four senior student champions who have excelled athletically and academically: Eric Galbreath and Evann Seratte, of Lawrence High, and Jaxson Webb and Erin Liston, of Free State.