Since its foundation in 2012, the Van Alstyne Education Foundation has provided resources to enhance the educational experience for students in the VAISD community. The mission of the VAEF is to impair students with the necessary resources to pursue a higher education, whether it be at a university, community college or vocational school.


“Thanks to generous community members and donors, VAEF has awarded over $200,000 in Teacher Grants and Senior Scholarships since it was founded,” VAEF Executive Director Dacia McBryde said.


McBryde reported that in 2016 alone, the VAEF awarded $35,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors, as well as provided $35,000 in Teacher Grants.


Teacher Grants are a supplemental way for the VAEF to serve the school district by supporting innovative classroom ideas aimed at enhancing the student learning experience.


The grants have enabled ideas such as green screens, marker spaces, standing desks and the creation of the Reagan and Grant Garden.


Though the Teacher Grants have been regularly awarded at the conclusion of the school year in May, they will instead next be bestowed at the beginning of the 2017-2018 year to enable teachers to utilize the grants for the entirety of the school year.


In order to further serve the community, the VAEF has scheduled two upcoming events in the community. On March 23, the fourth annual Denim and Diamonds Gala, the largest VAEF fundraiser, was held at Heritage Springs Events Center in Anna.


“This year we have a hefty goal of $80,000 to be raised at the Gala,” said Event Chair Natalie Walker said before the event.


Additionally on May 6, the 9th Annual Little Big Town 5K and Fun Run will take place. The run was originally started by Rock and Suzanne King in order to assist different organizations and help fund Van Alstyne. The Kings eventually gifted the run to the VAEF in order to benefit students and teachers in the VAISD.


“Its a great way to spend time with your family and visit the local vendors on the square or hang out at the finish line at the end of the run to cheer on your favorite runner,” event chair Kristi Densmore said.


Densmore encourages runners of all ages to participate in either the fun run or the 5K. The 5K is USA Track and Field certified, wrapping around the downtown roads of historic Van Alstyne.


The runs are a collaborative effort from the entire city in order to support the community and VAISD students and faculty. The event typically hosts over 300 runners, with registration now open at getmeregistered.com.