Twenty-third on the twenty-third

BCEF president Jeff Hallmark and BCS Superintendent Rodney Green make plans for the 23rd Annual Radiothon on Sept. 23. -Mitchie Neel

BCEF president Jeff Hallmark and BCS Superintendent Rodney Green make plans for the 23rd Annual Radiothon on Sept. 23. -Mitchie Neel

On Thursday, Sept. 23, the 23rd Annual Blount County Education Foundation Radiothon will take over WCRL Radio from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as the organization continues to promote academic excellence in Blount County Schools. In addition, live feeds on the Blount County Education Foundation Facebook page will take place throughout the day.

Donations of any amount can be called in to 855-789-2233 throughout the day or they can be dropped off at The Little Brick Church on Ala 75, across from Ace Hardware in Oneonta. Any donation, large or small, is greatly appreciated. Announcements of contributions will be made during the nine-hour broadcast.

As in previous years, the tradition of awarding the number of prizes to equal the number of radiothon years will continue. Those who call in with pledges or make a donation of $20 or more will have their name entered into a random drawing to receive one of the 23 grand prizes announced at 5 p.m.

During the broadcast, previous grant recipients, county school personnel, dignitaries, and many other supporters will join BCEF members for the live broadcast. School features are also scheduled every hour beginning at 9 a.m. Prior to that, Blountsville Elementary and Appalachian High will be featured at 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., respectively. The 4 p.m. hour will feature announcement of employee giving awards.

With the classroom grant program being the main project of the BCEF radiothon, money received will continue to be utilized through classroom grants awarded to teachers in county schools. With 200 grants being awarded in 2020, it was the largest year thus far. That is quite an increase in the 23 grants that were funded in year one. It’s fairly simple, more donations equal more grants, which in turn equals more students being impacted by the contributions.

For those interested in making a grant possible, there are three options: $750 Named Grant; $1,000 Signature Grant; and $2,000 Diamond Grant. Permanent Grants are also an option. With a $15,000 gift to the BCEF Endowment Fund, an annual grant award of $750 is funded. A $20,000 gift creates an annual grant award of $1,000.

There are currently 28 Endowed Grants, eight Signature Endowed Grants, and 20 Named Endowed Grants. The BCEF is proud to have a program that allows donors to make a permanent impact through their gifts.

In addition to awarding classroom grants, the BCEF has funded 2,536 projects. Some of these include the Summer Learning Program, STEAM Initiative, Youth Leadership Development Program, High School Ambassadors, and Teacher of the Year grants. In 2021 alone, 1,085 students participated in in–person summer learning activities and averaged a three-month growth in reading and a seven-month growth in math during the four-week period.

The impact of donations made through the annual BCEF Radiothon is huge! Teachers are able to optimize student-learning opportunities through the grants, and students have more opportunities to enhance their academic success by participating in any of the programs the education foundation supports.

You have an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful foundation and impact Blount County students. As Sept. 23 approaches, consider what your contribution might be. Remember, big or small, when donations are tallied together, they will make a significant impact in the life of a student.