By Maria Luisa Cesar : December 20, 2013 / MySA
SAN ANTONIO — Texas Capital Bank officials spread some holiday cheer to students and teachers at Booker T. Washington Elementary School this season, with a donation of 150 school uniforms and a poster-making machine for teachers.
Local bank executives presented the uniforms Friday, which will be distributed to the school’s neediest students in the coming weeks.
Texas Capital Bank regional vice chairman Shaun Kennedy said bank officials decided to partner with the San Antonio Independent School District campus after “we saw that there was a groundswell around our community to support the revitalization on the East Side.”
“The cornerstone of that is education,” Kennedy added.
The school is in the heart of an area targeted by two federal grants to bolster educational achievement and community development. The local chapter of the United Way scored the $24.6 million Eastside Promise Neighborhood grant in 2011 and the San Antonio Housing Authority secured a $29.7 million Choice Neighborhood grant the following year to revitalize the nearby Wheatley Courts.
San Antonio is one of only two cities in the nation to get both grants and the East Side is the only neighborhood in the United States where the two grants overlap.
Washington Principal Phyllis Foley-Davis credits the grants for placing her school on the radar of local organizations and corporations.
“With all the different agencies that are helping our schools, we’re reaching out and starting to form partnerships with businesses,” she said.
Parent Andrea Mullen, 34, said she was overjoyed that the bank stepped up to help. The holidays can squeeze families financially and kids grow quickly during the year, Mullen said. Her third-grade son, Haydin, and her first-grade daughter, Nevaeh, have both outgrown uniforms she bought earlier in the year and will be among the students who get new ones — khaki bottoms and a polo shirt in blue, the school’s color, or white.
“They’re going to wear them with pride,” she said.
Foley-Davis said she hopes the partnership will be a two-way street: She wants to get students in the school choir to sing in the bank lobby.
“We really appreciate what they’re doing,” she said. “We’ve never had someone step up and meet a need like that, so we’re really appreciative of that.”
Mary Ellen Burns, senior vice president for grant implementation at United Way, said Friday that the Eastside Promise Neighborhood grant is unearthing the capacities and talents of local families and has raised awareness about how education and community factors intersect.
“Children can’t do well in school if their neighborhood is struggling or if their family is struggling,” she said.