It was appropriate that the 7th annual Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation fund-raising luncheon took place on Tuesday, November 29, a day dubbed as Giving Tuesday.
“Today, we celebrate your gifts to our students, our schools and our community,” said Livonia Public Schools Superintendent Andrea Oquist to a crowd of more than 250 LPS Education Foundation supporters in attendance at the annual luncheon held at St. Mary’s Cultural Center in Livonia. “We are better, stronger and more successful because of you.”
The luncheon, emceed by WJR Sports Director Steve Courtney, raises money for the Foundation’s Competitive Edge College Savings Program for LPS kindergartners, which has more than 1,700 students enrolled. The Competitive Edge College Savings Program offers to set-up a college savings trust account for each kindergarten student in the Livonia Public Schools School District. An initial deposit is made by the LPS Education Foundation and additional contributions are made by the Foundation, as budgets allow. As the child grows, the account grows, giving that eventual high school senior a “competitive edge” upon graduation.
This year’s luncheon keynote speaker was WDIV-TV Channel 4 news anchor Devin Scillian, who talked about his life as a journalist and author of 17 children’s books. He said his work has taken him all around the world, several times, from China to Russia to Cuba and to eight Olympiads. He’s even been a passenger in a nuclear submarine, twice.
But, the “coolest thing” he has accomplished in his professional life was getting his first children’s book, entitled Fibblestax, published in 2000. He said he will always cherish this book, which led to 16 more through the years.
Scillian shared his passion for books – the real kind, with pages, binding and a cover.
“I love the permanence of a book,” he said, noting that books hold a certain magic that’s waiting to be discovered by the reader.
Scillian’s support of literacy coincides with the LPS Education Foundation’s support for early literacy, by way of elementary school tutoring, and through its classroom grant program, which provides learning tools to classrooms throughout the district. To date, the Foundation has given 62 grants to LPS teachers, totaling more than $138,000. LPS employees also support the Foundation’s many efforts by contributing designated amounts from their paychecks, through the Champions Program.
“We are very aggressive in supporting the educational needs of our students,” said LPS Education Foundation Director Lorna Durand. “Thank you for contributing to this great success.”