Terri Jernigan knows how to motivate people.
The physical education teacher at Williams/Ledger Elementary School knows how to help others attain goals they never dreamed possible. Her school’s involvement with the United Way campaign is no different.
Jernigan serves as the United Way representative at her campus organizing the campaign through individual pledge commitment and fundraising events. Williams/Ledger Elementary has consecutively, year after year, raised more money than any other school in the Copperas Cove Independent School District under Jernigan’s leadership.
“There really isn’t any big secret,” Jernigan said. “We offer opportunities for our students and families to participate in a variety of activities and to give. We really just have fun and the Williams/Ledger family has a really big heart.”
This year, the school raised more than $10,000, the highest amount in the school’s history.
“The only difference to our campaign this year was we added some new activities to our old standards and had some renewed interest,” Jernigan said. “We have a lot of help, and we have a lot of fun. This is definitely a team effort, staff, students, and parents.”
The school added a car show organized by Assistant Principal Felix Alaniz who is a car enthusiast and Paraprofessional Edith Natividad who headed up the entertainment throughout the day. The event added $1,400 to the school’s fundraising efforts.
While some would argue that Williams/Ledger is one of the largest schools in the district and therefore is able to raise more money, the achievement-oriented school also won the school district’s United Way Per-Capita Award designed to help smaller schools compete against the larger ones.
Williams/Ledger Elementary raised an average of $108.36 per employee. While many employees made personal donations through pledge forms, nearly one-fifth of the money was raised at the school’s annual fall carnival which brings in more than $2,000 each year.
Jernigan also motivated other elementary campuses to add to their fundraising totals organizing a district-wide fun run. An entry fee, which could be paid by parents or through business sponsorships, was required for students to participate on a Saturday morning outside of school.
Each school was able to add the money contributed by its respective runners back to its school total of money raised for the United Way campaign. On average, each school added more than $200 to its overall total.
Jernigan’s leadership in her campus’ United Way campaign is evident as is Rebecca Carrion’s who serves as the campus United Way representative at Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy.
Under Carrion’s leadership, the campus experienced a 55.9 percent increase in funds raised. Carrion said her first order of business was to set a school goal to increase the amount of money raised this year over last year.
“I essentially run the same fundraisers every year and ask our staff and parents to support the events. From there, it was continued hard work by many people on campus,” Carrion said. “I must say that Mae Stevens does have the best students and families in CCISD. I asked and they gave. They really came through for us.”
The efforts paid off and Mae Stevens captured the CCISD United Way Year-Over-Year Increase Award which was designed to encourage the campuses to continue growing their campaigns each year.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District raised $43,779.07 for the United Way campaign this year. The totals for each school and awards earned are:
- Most Money Raised Award: Williams/Ledger Elementary School
- Year-Over-Year Increase Award: Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy
- Per Capita Award: Williams/Ledger Elementary School
- Mae Stevens Early Learning Academy: $2,501.25
- Clements/Parsons Elementary: $5,605.48
- Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary: $2,174.09
- Hettie Halstead Elementary: $1,641.60
- House Creek Elementary: $5,800.00
- Martin Walker Elementary: $1,730.00
- Williams/Ledger Elementary: $10,077.02
- Copperas Cove Junior High: $1,711.65
- S. C. Lee Junior High: $5,150.47
- Copperas Cove High School: $4,705.87
- Crossroads High School: $919.64
- CCISD Central Office: $1,761.00