Education Alliance raises approximately $17,000 at banquet

Crossett Elementary School music students demonstrate on musical instruments that were funded by a Crossett Public Schools Education Alliance grant at the CPSEA’s banquet last week.

The Crossett Public Schools Education Alliance hosted its inaugural fundraiser banquet last week and raised approximately $17,000 for its program.

The CPSEA is an organization dedicated to joining the schools and the community together to improve education.

“In southern Arkansas, we don’t always have access to the resources larger districts have,” Crossett Elementary Media Specialist Leslie Mansur said. “The CPSEA grants help teachers level the playing field.”

The organization offers grants to teachers and programs throughout the district. Most recently, it awarded a grant to the CES music department for the purchase of musical instruments.

Some of the grant recipients, including the ones who received musical instruments, were present at last week’s banquet to show off some of the great things CPSEA has contributed to the Crossett District.

The CPSEA also offers New Teacher Grants to assist new teachers with purchasing things to improve their classroom.

The CPSEA started in 2002 when William Thomas Stephens, who graduated from CHS in the 1960s, learned that Crossett’s education system was not up to standards and spoke to the community about his concerns.

Stephens took the opportunity when asked to be the keynote speaker at the Annual Crossett Chamber of Commerce Banquet in January 2002 to not only voice his opinion, but to also challenge the community.

At that time, Stephens guaranteed $100,000 in seed money to pioneer an organization that would benefit the Crossett School System.

Stephens envisioned an organization that would hold administration and educators to a higher standard while investing in the future of Crossett’s students.

In 2003, Geogia Pacific matched Stephens’ funds and First National Bank of Crossett donated $50,000 as well, which ultimately led to the formation of the CPSEA.

Since that time, the group has maintained its active status and from the support of businesses, individuals, community organizations and class reunions, has been able to continue to support the Crossett School Districts and offer grants and other luxuries that the district would otherwise not have.

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