Community project earns state education award

April 11, 2013 chris
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 By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Last month the Alabama Community Ed-ucation Association announced winning co-mmunity projects that benefited Alabama Schools. Efforts in the Gadsden area received their share of recognition.
    A project called “Change for Change” earned the Peggy Spain McDonald Bright Idea Award. The project brought together Gadsden First United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church of Gadsden, Keystone Bank and 30 downtown merchants to help collect change to go toward the purchase of I-Pads for W.E. Striplin Elementary School.
    Mark Condra, representing First United Methodist Church, said it was a collaborative effort.
    The churches helped organize and Keystone Bank counted the money while the downtown merchants placed collection jars in their businesses.
    Together, almost $50,000 was raised to put some of the latest learning technology in the hands of Striplin students.
Condra said he might have got the ball rolling, but he credited Keystone CEO Ray Smith with making it happen. It was, he stressed, a team effort.
“I think it’s amazing that two downtown churches, Keystone Bank and so many downtown merchants came together on this project,” Condra said.
In addition to the Peggy Spain McDonald award, Jack Elliott was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for his service to Community Education/21st Century Community Learning Centers. He volunteers in the after school program at W.E. Striplin Elementary, giving his time and his many skills and talents to enhance the learning experience for students in the after school program.
Sen. Phil Williams received the Outstanding Benefactor Award at the ACEA conference, where he was keynote speaker. He received the honor for his dedication and involvement in the 21st CCLC program.