The spirit of community involvement thrives within the J.O. Combs Unified School District, exemplifying the adage that it takes a village to raise a child. One of the areas that Combs places a high value is the support and partnership we receive from local businesses through the Combs Education Foundation.
Originally established in 2016, the Combs Education Foundation (CEF) continues to grow into an invaluable resource, providing a diverse range of support for deserving students and staff. This past year, the impact of the CEF included the awarding of $16,000 in student scholarships, $10,000 in teacher classroom mini-grants and the recognition of approximately 30 staff members.
Central to CEF’s mission is the provision of student scholarships for graduating seniors. Acknowledging the rising costs of postsecondary education, the foundation is pleased to award funds through 11 different scholarship awards, each intended to support students in specific areas of study or career ambitions. These are funded through one-time donations, employee contributions, business sponsorships and local families often motivated by the desire to honor the memory of a loved one. These scholarships are then used to support students in pursuing higher education at universities, community colleges or trade schools.
Another key focus area of the foundation is teacher classroom mini-grants, providing up to $1,000 to use in a classroom-centered project. These funds empower educators to introduce innovative teaching methods and enrich their current curriculum. Beneficiaries span various subjects, from math and English to special education and drama, encompassing grades from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
Last but not least, the foundation’s commitment extends to recognizing exemplary district staff through the annual Staff Excellence Awards. These awards honor outstanding contributions in six distinct categories, with the culminating event celebrating winners as “Employee of the Year” for their respective roles, fostering a nurturing culture of appreciation and dedication.
Looking ahead, CEF envisions its next endeavor to be the launch of an alumni association and an endowment fund. Combs High School alumni are encouraged to engage with the foundation in establishing an alumni network, while the proposed endowment fund aims to secure CEF’s sustainability, ensuring its ongoing ability to support students and educators.
Recent successful events hosted by the CEF include a business breakfast that brought together business leaders and community partners as well as students enrolled in our 13 Career and Technical Education programs. And coming up on Sept. 22 is the annual golf tournament at Encanterra Country Club. Those interested in joining or supporting future CEF events should contact Dr. Mark Duplissis at firstname.lastname@example.org or myself at email@example.com.
As the local community and the district continue to experience growth, we look forward to future collaboration with the diverse business interests converging with our own. These partnerships are poised to yield mutual benefits for our students, staff and the broader community for years to come.
Dr. Gregory A. Wyman is superintendent of the J.O. Combs Unified School District.