Principals Jim Lawley and Cynthia Lesley, along with Superintendent Joey Ray and a handful of concerned parents met to discuss proration and other issues facing their schools. the
“Twenty years is a long time to keep a vision alive but Friends of Moody Schools is still alive and well,” Laura Armstrong said. “Our vision was and is to act as a liaison between the schools, civic, business and legislative leaders.”
Armstrong said when they incorporated in April 1992 as a non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, they established twelve goals:
O Develop a strong community-based school system.
O Return parents to education.
O Return discipline and morality to schools.
O Develop strong leadership skills in children.
O Ensure that all children are ready to start school.
O Focus on increased knowledge in science, math, and computers.
O Prepare the children of Moody for college/workforce.
O Increase high school graduation as well as college enrollment.
O All parents as well as all children should know how to read and write.
O Develop a mentor/tutor network.
O Encourage teachers/students to strive for excellence.
O Actively seek scholarships, funds, and other business opportunities for students.
“We cannot say that we have met all our goals but we have had some success in providing computer labs, science labs, libraries, books, cleanup days, education forums/classes, teachers’ breakfasts/dinners, classroom grants and scholarships,” Armstrong said.
In 1993, they gave their first scholarship for $500. As of December 31, 2010, they have given over $205,000 in scholarships.
“However, not only is it the material things that Friends of Moody Schools provides that benefit our schools, but the relationships that we have established over the years with our business and civic leaders,” Armstrong said. “Shortly after the September 11 attack on our country by terrorists, we were saddened by the human loss and unsure of the future. Congressman Bob Riley came from Washington at the request of Friends of Moody Schools to speak to the parents/community and give much-needed reassurance.”
Armstrong said they don’t have a big board of directors, just a few individuals who are not looking for recognition or a pat on the back.
“We simply see the needs in our schools and are taking those needs to our community leaders in hope of finding solutions,” she said. “Friends of Moody Schools exists only because of our strong community. And this strong community has kept the vision of Friends of Moody Schools Education Foundation, Inc. alive for 20 years.”
St. Rep. Jim McClendon said the only proven way to change Alabama forever is through excellence in education.
“Thanks to all involved for your hard work on this worthy project,” McClendon said.
St. Clair Schools Superintendent Jenny Seals said it has been her pleasure to partner with Friends of Moody throughout the years.
“Our relationship began during my tenure as principal at Moody Elementary and continues during my term in office as superintendent,” Seals said. “Friends of Moody has assisted schools throughout the community in many ways. One particular way is their scholarship program for high school seniors. Friends of Moody is truly an asset to the Moody community.
St. Clair County Coroner Dennis Russell said thanks to the Friends of Moody Schools, his oldest son is in medical school and his youngest son graduated from the University of Alabama.
“With the support of our community, it made it easier,” Russell said.
Board of Education member Terry Green said the Friends of Moody Schools has been great working in the communities to improve the schools.
“Through numerous donations and scholarships, they have allowed many students opportunities to further their education and are always willing to assist with many projects,” Green said. “Thanks for your dedication and commitment to furthering better education for our children.”
Moody Mayor Joe Lee said the City of Moody has always supported Friends of Moody Schools and their goal to raise money for student scholarships.
Moody Junior High School principal Cassandra Taylor said she has had the pleasure of watching the Friends of Moody Schools give so much back to the students.
“As a teacher, I have seen thousands of dollars given to the students to go and further their educational careers,” Taylor said. “As an administrator, I have seen all the hard work and fundraising that is done for each of our schools, always being so generous to help us achieve our goals. The Friends of Moody Schools is such a generous group, who always has the Moody students at heart.”
Covenant Bank Senior Vice President Lisa Berry said Friends of Moody Schools has successfully represented the students of Moody for years.
“If you visit a computer lab, school library or better yet, Awards Day at Moody High School, you will see results,” Berry said. “Thousands of dollars have been given in scholarships to deserving Moody High School students. Administrative costs are almost non-existent, donations to Friends of Moody Schools benefit students, period.”