HOUSTON – The gifts ranged from $100 bills and Ipods to snowcones and an extra recess, but the real reward was a smile and the satisfaction of a job well done.
Houston Upper Elementary School and the PACE Foundation presented awards to more than 350 students Thursday for high achievement on last year’s MCT2 (Mississippi Curriculum Test, Second Edition) and individual test score improvement.
“I am very excited about what we are doing today,” said HUES Principal John Ellison. “We did this last year and when we decided to do it again this year we figured up the cost and showed it to PACE. They said they would fund it and they have.”
Bobby Moore was one of dozens of family members in the HUES gym for Thursday’s ceremony and he watched his granddaughter Kalena Williams win an award for high achievement in third grade reading.
“I am so proud,” said Moore. “Good grades are very important to us and that is why we showed up today – to show our support for her and her grades.”
PACE Foundation member Tom Byrne said the rewards are an investment in the community.
“No school district excels until the community becomes partners with their schools and this shows our community’s commitment to our schools and our students,” said Byrne. “This school has really taken off this year.”
And Byrne hopes PACE’s investment will continue to prompt success. PACE has budgeted $15,000 over the next three to five years for improvements in education.
“We challenged our students and pushed them to do well on the MCT,” said Ellison. “This was a lot of hard work by both our students and our teachers and today is the reward.”
Ellison said HUES had five students score over 180 on the MCT.
“That’s an extremely high score and those students received a $100 bill for their effort,” said Ellison. “We also had two students make perfect scores on the math portion and that is a feat that is almost unheard of.”
Students who scored 180 or were the top score in their grade and who earned $100 for their effort were:
• Sarah Brassfield
• Abby Chism • Alexis Ellison • Caleb Fuller • Jessica Torres (2) Fourth Grade • Jaden Johns • Kaitlynn Murphree • Grace Tate Fifth Grade • Jasmine Rogers • Emma Brassfield • Haley Makamson Students who made perfect scores on a portion of MCT2 were third graders Sarah Brassfield and Alexis Ellison and fifth grader Emily Pettit. Students scoring perfect earned an Ipod.
Ellison pointed out there are rewards now and in the future for good grades.
“I hope this shows you that hard work and studying to make good grades does pay off,” said Ellison. “I also want you to know if you didn’t get one of these awards, this program has been approved for next year.”
PACE was established in 2001 and serves as a community foundation with the mission of improving the quality of life for people in Chickasaw County. The foundation serves as a vehicle to prompt individuals to invest financially in Houston “leaving legacies that set the pace for generations to come.”
The PACE Foundation board manages the trust fund and disbursements. The board is made up of: Frank Alford, Alford Bell, Tom Byrne, Betsy Collums, John Ellison, Hassell Franklin, Bobby Mooneyham, Millette Nabors, Rayburn Parks, Harry Robinson, Bob Scott and Gary Staten.
PACE has an annual grant cycle to consider organizations and allocate fund from March 15 to June 15.