A Stormy Night comes to Jonesboro

By Krishnan Collins
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO – The Foundation for Jonesboro Public Schools hosted the inaugural A Stormy Night event Oct. 3 to raise funds for grants for students attending the Jonesboro Public School District.

   Other events like this one existed in the past, but this was the first fundraiser of its kind in terms of the format and set up for the foundation. The foundation sold tickets at $50 each and a silent auction took place at the event. Sponsors also donated money to the cause. 

Slade Mitchell, president of the Foundation for Jonesboro Public Schools, commented on the initial ticket sales. 

 “These are going to be estimates because I haven’t seen any final numbers, but I believe we have sold somewhere around 200 tickets,” Mitchell said. “But with sponsorships and everything involved, I expect this event will raise somewhere around $30,000 for our cause.”

   The foundation hosts fundraisers like A Stormy Night because teachers in the district tend to put forward ideas of how they can educate their students in fun and creative ways. However, these teachers do not always have the means necessary to carry these plans out. 

   “We have great teachers,” Mitchell said. “They have great ideas for things they would like to do in their class: creative ways to educate their students. A lot of times with the ideas they have there’s a disconnect between the idea and the funding needed to pull that off. So what we do as a foundation is we award grants to those teachers in that situation. These types of events sustain that program.”

   Joshua Miller, a math teacher at the Success Achievement Academy in Jonesboro, benefitted from multiple separate foundation grants. Miller is a testament to the success of the fundraisers the foundation hosts. 

   Miller’s students built roller coasters, rockets and bridges all thanks to grants from the Foundation for Jonesboro Public Schools. These projects made math engaging for the students and illustrated different ways math applies in the world outside of the classroom.

   “If it weren’t for you all, the ideas and the dreams that we want to experience in our classroom would not become a reality,” Miller said in a speech to A Stormy Night attendees. “This dream of mine that I sit at home planning every once in awhile would not become a reality.”

   A Stormy Night marks the first fundraiser the foundation created as a dinner during the middle of the week. Mitchell commented on how this could change the game for foundation fundraisers. 

   “We’ve always wanted to have an event like this,” Mitchell said. “We have board members now that have experience with doing this. While we’ve wanted to do it in the past, we’ve got the team that can do it now. We’re so excited to have something like this come together. In the past, rather than an evening banquet, we have done a brunch the Saturday following homecoming.”

   The Foundation for Jonesboro Public Schools hosted the brunch for a few years, but an annual dinner has a chance to bring even more people to a fundraiser. 

   “We’ve always talked about doing an evening and doing something where we could maybe allow for more people to come,” Mitchell said. “Saturday mornings were tough because people were out of town or various things. We never really had the courage to try. This year, again, with the right board members in place, with the right team in place, we were able to pull it off.”

   Many different people attended at A Stormy Night, including faculty from the Jonesboro Public School District along with various members of the community and sponsors. 

   Felicia Johnson represented New Door Real Estate Brokerage at the event, a local real estate company. Johnson’s daughter graduated from Jonesboro Public Schools. 

   “I think Jonesboro Public Schools are amazing and I would take any opportunity to support the schools,” Johnson said. “That’s why our company is here tonight. It’s wonderful to get here tonight and be with all these people that share the same goals.”

   Johnson did four years of schooling herself with Jonesboro Public Schools and has been in Jonesboro for 32 years. She highlighted the importance a fundraiser like A Stormy Night plays in the lives of students. 

   “Oh my goodness, the funds that are raised here, can you imagine? Can you imagine the robotics team having what they need? The band having what they need? The cheerleaders? (For them) not to have to do tons and tons of fundraisers. This is amazing. We’re going to raise a lot of money to help our children.”

Editor’s Note: Feature photo shows Joshua Miller addressing attendees at A Stormy Night event.