There’s always a special energy in the air as guests arrive for the annual Celebration of Excellence awards dinner hosted by the AWARE Foundation each spring. The vibe of this event is fueled by the supporters of the more than 50 teachers who are nominated for the Award of Excellence that comes in the form of $3,000 in cash. The anticipation of seeing each nominee in the spotlight before the winners and runners-up are revealed creates a buzz of excitement.
The community is again invited to attend this year’s banquet set for May 9 at UTA’s Bluebonnet Ballroom and join the AWARE Foundation’s salute to teaching excellence. The all-volunteer organization begins in late fall accepting nominations from the public for teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty. In order to select the award recipients, teachers from pre-kindergarten through high school who are nominated in five grade-level categories are then observed in the classroom by a selection committee comprised of local volunteers.
“This year’s nominees are amazing. In fact, three of our five categories ended up with finalist ties,” said board member Beth Hellier who heads the selection committee. “Selection team leaders reported that it was incredibly difficult to narrow the choices in order to select the runners up and winners. We can’t wait to announce the results, while honoring all our outstanding educators.”
Cash is the name of the game for the AWARE Foundation. Nominees each receive a $50 award, and $100 goes to each finalist. Award winners are given $3,000 and runners-up receive $1,500 — all in unrestricted funds to be used however each educator chooses. Because winners from the previous year are the keynote speakers at the next year’s banquet, the audience often gets to hear entertaining stories of how the former winners chose to use their cash awards.
Since it was founded in 1989, the AWARE Foundation has given more than $425,000 to more than 300 Arlington teachers. This year’s banquet will honor 59 nominees that come from 24 schools across the district.
“The AWARE Foundation is unique to the city of Arlington,” said board president Gena Williams. “It shows that in our community, we value public education teachers and appreciate all they do for our children and our city.”
Williams added: “We often hear many speak of how they value our educators, but the AWARE Foundation proves it each year at a beautiful banquet where teachers are honored and rewarded with a cash prize just for them.”
Board member Ouida Garner is in charge of event arrangements and said: “Our banquet will be a very special evening, and every teacher should leave feeling appreciated. We are very excited about honoring Arlington’s best.” Emcee for the evening is retired teacher and former AWARE president Alice Petersen. Another high point for the night is the highly anticipated prize drawing where audience members win dozens of gift cards and products.
Tickets to the event are $35 per person, and reservations are due May 1. Contact Garner at 817-277-5726 or firstname.lastname@example.org to get tickets. Proceeds from the banquet along with sponsor and donor contributions enable the AWARE Foundation to recognize teachers for innovation and lasting influence on students. Learn more at www.AWAREFoundation.com.
Altrusa Club celebrates 100th anniversary
Arlington Altrusa Club members recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the nationwide service organization with a luncheon and special presentations. Local president Cissy Conley said that Altrusa has more than 30 clubs in Texas where members are encouraged to get involved in bettering their local communities. More than 1 million volunteer hours were contributed in the U.S. by Altrusa International during their centennial year.
The Arlington club chose to honor the centennial milestone by participating in a “100 4 100” challenge where each member volunteered 100 hours during the anniversary year. The club also provided a host of services and gifts to local charities for the past year with a focus on the “hundred.” Conley said the members enjoyed their themed projects that included such things as giving 100 diapers, 100 flip flops, 100 books, 100 stuff animals, 100 food items and a host of other gifts in the 100 quantity-variety to dozens of local charities.
“We presented four centennial cakes to the residents at The Waterford where we held our luncheon, including a wonderful three-tiered cake with Altrusa and centennial logos,” Conley said. “Displays, banners, and awards (celebrated) past achievements and over 10,000 ‘cents and services’ that were accomplished this year in honor of the centennial.”
Altrusa partners with Arlington Association of University Women in the Reading is Fundamental program. Conley said the two groups recently presented 1,200 free books to third grade students in Title I schools in Arlington. Altrusa will also present scholarships in May to local high school students. Anyone wishing to inquire about membership in Altrusa can contact Conley at email@example.com.
▪ A production of the comedy “Dearly Beloved” is April 28 at 7 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at St. John The Apostle United Methodist Church, 5450 Mansfield Rd. The “Southern-friend wedding comedy” is presented by the Wesleyan Thespians, and proceeds benefit Kids Against Hunger. Tickets are $10. Purchase at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sjaumc.org and click on drama production.
▪ The Arlington Garden Club Plant Festival is April 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Fielder Museum. Event will feature presentations by master gardeners, BRIT, master naturalists along with vendors and a plant sale. Funds raised will go for landscape beautification at the Fielder House Museum. Contact Susan Hughes-Henderson, president, at 817-504-2507 or visit Arlington Garden Club Facebook page.
▪ Lunch With Leaders is May 2 at 11:30 a.m. in the Moritz Boardroom at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce. Hosted by the Women’s Alliance, the event will feature Karen Cone, Business Development Director Brookdale Senior Living. The topic is “How to Begin a Conversation with Your Parents About Aging.” Cost is $20 for non-members and $15 for members of the Women’s Alliance. Purchase online at www.ArlingtonTx.com or call the office at 817-275-2613.