TUPELO – When the Plantersville Middle School Blues Band performed at the ExPECT membership drive Saturday, they were proof the cause they were singing for was important.
Music Director Martha Webb said had it not been for ExPECT, someone else would have been singing in her group’s slot.
Students from the Lee County Schools performed for shoppers at The Mall at Barnes Crossing on Saturday in hopes of getting people to joint ExPECT.
ExPECT is a nonprofit organization that funds grants for teachers in Lee County Schools to put money back into their classrooms. In January, the private organization awarded Lee County teachers $29,633.71.
Webb, a member of ExPECT, has received a grant from the organization for the past three years to help buy supplies for the music program. All the instruments used for the blues band were purchased with ExPECT funds.
“We just wouldn’t be here if not for ExPECT,” Webb said. “We would not have had the money to buy equipment and things needed to start a blues band. ExPECT made that possible for these students and we are grateful for it.”
Guntown Middle School teacher Bobby Richardson is also a member of ExPECT. He said the group wants to double its membership to 500 people.
ExPECT, formed in 1989, usually funds its teacher grants through membership dues and an annual allocation from the United Way of Northeast Mississippi. ExPECT has funded more than $283,000 to Lee County Schools over the past 11 years, according to Richardson. Member dues are $50 for businesses, $20 per family and $10 for teachers per year.
“Budgets are tight for everyone right now, so teachers look for other resources to help with supplies,” said Richardson. “ExPECT provides that relief for teachers. It’s money they can apply for that doesn’t come out of their classroom budgets. That’s why it’s so important that we get people involved and joining. This benefits the children of our community.”
Teachers and administrators of all Lee County Schools can request grant money from ExPECT to purchase materials and equipment used to enhance education.
Tanesha Smith has a child who goes to Guntown Middle School. She said $20 is a small price to pay to ensure a good education.
“I’m going to join,” she said. “It’s up to us as parents to help pick up the slack where the teachers can’t, so we all should have an interest in our kids.”
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– The ExPECT membership drive ended on Saturday, but you can call ExPECT for more information and still join. Membership levels are $10 for teachers and staff, $20 for families, and $50 for businesses. ExPECT T-shirts also are available for $10. To join, contact co-presidents Bobby Richardson and Pam Sanders at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Lee County Schools at (662) 841-9144.
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal