The people came, they celebrated, fireworks lit up the sky, and by the end of the night, $419,000 was raised to help East Texas students attend Tyler Junior College, TJC publicity officials announced.
Culminating TJC’s yearlong 90th anniversary, the celebration was held Friday, May 5, at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler to raise funds for the TJC Promise, a bold scholarship initiative that will benefit deserving high school students within the college’s tax district, including Chapel Hill, Grand Saline, Lindale, Tyler, Van and Winona.
The benefit gala was presented by Southside Bank.
The TJC Promise will fund up to two years of college for students who meet the standards of the program while attending high school. During fall, 2016 semester 1,226 students signed the pledge to participate in the new program. The first class for the TJC Promise will enter the college during fall of 2020.
Donna Metke served as chair of the event, which was attended by more than 275 members of the community, including the TJC Board of Trustees, donors and civic leaders.
“Thanks to the diligent work of our cabinet and steering committee, we are proud to announce that $419,000 was raised for the TJC Promise,” Metke said.
“We sincerely thank everyone for the months of hard work they put into making this event a huge success, and we thank the members of our community who turned out in support of this effort.”
Members of the President’s Executive Cabinet for the 90th anniversary were: Marilyn Abegg-Glass, Rosemary and Harold Beaird, Henry Bell III, Ann and Brad Brookshire, Susan and Lee Gibson, Billie and Bill Hartley, Michelle and Mayor Martin Heines, Tisa and Billy Hibbs, State Sen. Bryan Hughes, Pat and Jack Johns, Kyna and Judge Nathaniel Moran, Margaret and Jim Perkins, Jasilyn and State Rep. Matt Schaefer, Barbara Shtofman, Eleanor Stringer, and Betty and Dick Summers.
Members of the Steering Committee for the TJC Promise include: Marilyn Abegg-Glass, Barbara Bass, Verna Hall, John Gaston, Pat Johns, Kay Latta, Jim Lestor, Bill Martin, David McCullough, Linda Rudd, Barbara Shtofman, Candice Gast Wilcox, and Dr. Sherilyn Willis.
School superintendents from each of the TJC Promise districts attended, including: Dr. Donni Cook, Chapel Hill; Micah Lewis, Grand Saline; Stan Surratt, Lindale; Dr. Marty Crawford, Tyler; Don Dunn, Van; and Cody Mize, Winona.
Entertainment for the event was provided by TJC students, including members of the TJC Jazz Ensemble, Apache Belles, Guitar Ensemble, classical instrumentalists and singers and a ballet student from the TJC Academy of Dance; and the crowd enjoyed a fireworks display and dancing at the end of the night.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke also displayed his 1926 Model T Ford, which is the same age as TJC.
“What a beautiful night to celebrate the history and heritage of our wonderful college, and what an incredibly generous and supportive community we live in,” Metke said. “The lives of many students will be forever changed by the TJC Promise. These students will come to TJC, they will get the training they need to immediately enter the workforce or gain the education they need to transfer to a four-year college, and many of them will stay right here in East Texas.
“We look forward to seeing the difference the TJC Promise will make in the lives of East Texans for generations to come.”
For more on the TJC Promise, go to www.tjc.edu/promise.