On November 14, 79 Plano Independent School District classrooms received a major shock when Park Place Lexus Grant Patrol teams showed up with pom-poms, noisemakers and, more importantly, grant checks.
For the seventh year running, the PISD Education Foundation has partnered with Park Place Lexus and several other sponsors to provide need-based grants for teachers who create unique, innovative programs aimed at helping their students and community. $100,000 was issued to 32 Plano ISD schools by way of 79 grants to teachers through the annual Grants to Educators program.
The Grants to Educators program assists teachers and schools in creating a better learning environment for students when tax funding falls short. Since its inception, the PISD Education Foundation has donated nearly $800,000 through the program. A panel of judges, appointed by the Education Foundation, considered each teacher’s application with a fine-toothed comb, funding 79 grants to 32 different schools. That help goes to 29,562 students and families in the Plano community reached by the grants.
Central Market hosts the Grants to Educators event each year. On this day, everyone involved with the Foundation, PISD, and the Grant Patrol assembled early in the morning at the Coit Road location for complimentary breakfast and lunch for all volunteers.
Plano ISD superintendant Richard Matkin led off the event by remarking on how appreciative the district was for the grant program and stressed its impact on the the schools. He noted that the program encourages teachers to think outside of the box and find ways to create a more conducive environment, not only for learning classroom material, but also for real-world knowledge and core values.
Teams rode along in seven brand new Lexus Grant Patrol vehicles, provided by Park Place Lexus to distribute checks to unsuspecting faculty members throughout the 100 square-mile area. Park Place has been a supporter of the Grants to Educators program for seven years running, providing vehicles and monetary donations every year.
Riding in the lead car was Park Place Marketing Director Rob Sumner, PISD Education Foundation Executive Director Carlos Sastoque, and Education Foundation Board Member Harvey Fishero.
All it takes is one look at the teachers’ reactions to understand what this event is all about: The sheer excitement and joy on many of the instructors’ faces, not to mention the jumping around and hugging, might make a grown man’s eyes water.
The kids ate up the surprise just as much as the teachers. Even the youngest screamed, clapped, and laughed along. The older kids who did understand the significance of the grants made it clear how grateful they were.
While cruising to Centennial Elementary School in our 2012 Lexus RX, Harvey Fishero said something that will not be soon forgotten: He commented on the amazing nature and character of teachers, pointing out that they acted as “parents, referees, and lawyers, while somehow still managing to teach on top of all of that.” Who better to receive help than the instructors who are trying to find better ways to mold our youth into productive, knowledgeable people?
It was easy to see that the teachers honored truly care about what they do. They care about their students and want to see them succeed, not just in the classroom, but in their community as well. The winning grant programs were based on ideals such as promoting family bonding, healthy lifestyles, helping those in need, community involvement, improving literacy, preparation for higher learning, and focus on the arts and sciences.
These teachers who were chosen to receive grant money are truly inspirational role models. Park Place Lexus is so glad to be fortunate enough to be a part of this program and show its generosity for the Education Foundation and its sponsors. Everyone involved in the Grants to Educators program deserves recognition and we hope to see more outstanding education and community-oriented programs like this in the future.