Austin High gets important support from parent alumni group

June 5, 2012  

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Austin High Cheerleaders Sam Stokes, Hannah Dale, Marisa Rodriquez, Teresa Orrostieta, Cailyn Lewis, and Taylor Doyle join Mr. Maroo at the 2011 SFA Fundraising Dinner.

For Maura Masters, Director of Austin High School’s Ballet Folklorico, and her troupe of students, a $2,500 grant from the Stephen F. Austin (SFA) Society—a parent and alumni support group at Austin High—has meant more efficient practices and performances at a greater number of venues and competitions during the 2011-2012 school year.  Her student organization used last year’s grant to purchase a much-needed portable dance floor.

“Since we have our practice space in the cafeteria, having a portable dance floor that absorbs the impact of our dancers’ legs is so important. Our original floor was completely falling apart and was taking the custodial staff a very long time to put down—and my dancers a very long time to pick up—cutting into our rehearsal time and making it impossible for us to take it to outside gigs,” Masters said. “We are extremely grateful to the SFA Society for their support.”

Ballet Folklorico was just one of twenty extracurricular activities to which SFA Society made grants in 2011-2012, providing more than $30,000 in contributions.

Other grant recipients include boys and girls basketball, soccer, golf, lacrosse and tennis, band, debate, football, theatre, and softball, to name a few.  SFA Society has given over $250,000 to the Austin High community since it began in 2002.

Recently, Julie Crenshaw, Tracy Fielder, Jana Howden, Julia Howry, Mark Newberry, Beth Plater, Steve Saunders, and Elise Schram gathered at the home of Jana Howden to plan the 2012 SFA Society fundraiser dinner.  This group of alumni or parents of current or former students at Austin High School serve as board members of the SFA Society.  They plan the annual event to implement its mission of providing financial support for extracurricular activities to enrich Austin High School students’ lives through participation in non-academic activities.  The board members are also among Austin High School’s most ardent supporters.

“Our major fundraiser, that has been an annual event since 2002, is an informal dinner.  Last year, we had 125 attendees,” Howden said, “and this year we are hoping more will be able to attend the dinner on September 2, 2012 at the home of Julie and Ben Crenshaw.”

“We don’t keep a cent of the money,” added charter board member, Steve Saunders. “We give 100 percent of it to the Austin High community.”

“All three of my kids went to Austin High,” said Elise Schram.  “I love it that all of our donations benefits kids right here at ‘home’ and that we can impact the lives of our neighbors and schoolmates.”

Board Member Tracy Fielder said she hopes the fundraiser continues to grow.  “We anticipate even greater participation this year,” she said. “We have been working hard to introduce more of our community to our organization and its mission.”

Saunders said the event has grown tremendously from when it began 10 years ago. “It’s a really fun party,” he said.

Tickets to the dinner cost $125 per person.  Send ticket requests or donations to SFA Society, care of Julia Howry, 2401 Sweetbrush Drive, Austin, Texas 78703.  For questions about the dinner, please contact Steve Saunders, SSaunders@snnalaw.com, (512) 472-7111, or visit http://www.loyalforever.com/giving.

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