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Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation

Foundation News

Fall 2021

Unfortunately, the Foundation has had to cancel this year's celebration because of the tenuous situation with COVID. However, donations are still be accepted. 
Become a Foundation Champion by donating $200. Any amount is appreciated. 

Grants awarded for 18-19 school year

See story about winning grants.

Grants awarded for 16-17

With their normal fanfare, the CSEE Foundation awarded teachers grants for the coming school year. The Foundation Board chose 12 grants totaling over $44,000 to bring technology and other innovations to the district.  See story here

Boots & BBQ set for April 16

The Commerce Schools Education Enrichment Foundation will host its annual Boots & BBQ Celebration and Fundraiser April 16 at Commerce High School. The event showcases the results of grants awarded to Commerce ISD teachers which are designed to enhance student academic performance. This year alone, the Foundation awarded over $62,000 for 13 grants.  
The doors open at 6 p.m. and guests are able to visit with teachers who are on hand to discuss how their grants impacted instruction in their classroom. 
The dinner will be catered by Murray's BBQ. Benefactors will be entertained by the CHS Jazz Band during dinner. 
Students play a major role in the Boots & BBQ program as they explain how Foundation grants have added to their successful academic experiences. A special treat will come from high school students who will share their grant experience throughout their schooling, beginning with music programs at Commerce Elementary School. 
The Foundation has contributed approximately $500,000 during the last 10 years to Commerce ISD.
Guests can become Foundation Champions by donating $200. Champions receive two tickets to the event. Any donation will be accepted. Individual tickets are $25 each. 
Tickets can be purchased at any school campus and the Central Administration Building during business hours through April 12.

Foundation awards over $60K in grants

Near school's end, the Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation awarded grants in excess of $62,000 to CISD teachers.
See story and photos



11th annual Boots & BBQ fulfills expectations

The CSSE Foundation members can congratulate themselves for another banner year.

Boots & BBQ set for April 11

Put on your hats and boots and get ready for the annual Boots & BBQ Celebration and Fundraiser to be held at 6 p.m., Saturday, April 11 at CHS. Become a Foundation Champion by donating $200. Individual tickets to the BBQ are $25 and may be purchased at the CISD Administration Building or by calling 903 886-3755.


Foundation gives over $375K

As it prepares for another banner year, the CSEE Foundation celebrated 10 years of giving to Commerce ISD during a recent Board meeting. Shown left to right are (back row) CISD Assistant Superintendent Charlie Alderman, Mary Hardy, Janet Peek, Superintendent Blake Cooper, Director of Personnel and Communications Ludonna Smithers and Wyman Williams. Pictured front row are Bill Fuhrmeister, Loretta Kibler and Jack Pirkey. The Foundation has provided over $375,000 for teacher-led instructional grants.


Foundation sets record with over $57,000 in grants

The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation continued its annual grant awards by funding projects totaling over $57,000. The Foundation has provided over $357,000 for projects to enhance opportunities for CISD students. Foundation board members traveled to each campus on the last day of school notifying teachers "Publisher's Clearinghouse-style" that their projects had received the go ahead for funding.



Annual Boots & BBQ breaks all records

Numbers for attendance, contributions and Foundation Champions set new records at the April 12 Boots & BBQ Celebration and Fundraiser.


Boots & BBQ set for April 12 at CHS

Tickets are on sale for the annual Boots & BBQ celebration and fundraiser hosted by the Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation. The event is scheduled for 6 p.m,, Saturday, April 12 at Commerce High School.

Last year, the Foundation gave over $31,000 to fund 14 teacher-proposed grant projects designed to provide activities and resources unavailable in a school budget. To date, the Foundation has given over $300,000 for enrichment activities specifically in the areas of math science, fine arts and technology.

At the Boots & BBQ dinner, teachers and students showcase activities resulting from the Foundation funding. This year students took trips to the Caldwell Zoo, the Dallas World Aquarium, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, the state capital and the Dallas Museum of Art. Audio equipment for elementary classrooms and Ipad apps were purchased and every sixth grader participated in the ropes course challenge at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Donors of $200 or more are designated Foundation Champions and they receive two tickets to the event. Individual tickets are available for $25 each and can be purchased at the Commerce ISD Central Administration Building at 3315 Washington St.
14 Grants awarded totaling $31,000
The CSEE Foundation awarded over $31,000 in grants to CISD teachers. Student trips to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, the Dallas World Aquarium, the Dallas Museum of Art, Austin and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science as well as sixth grade ropes challenge, seventh grade writing camp and technology enhancements for CES, CMS science classes and CHS science and technology classes were funded.

Boots & BBQ fundraiser celebrates 2013 success

The largest crowd ever to attend the annual Boots & BBQ Fundraiser celebrated the successful projects of the year and brought in over $15,000.

Boots & BBQ fundraiser set for April 6, 2013

It's time once again to mark your calendars for the annual Boots & BBQ fundraiser held by the Foundation. Last year was a banner year for the Foundation. Donations to CISD exceeded $65,000 for nine teacher-proposed projects and the iGive for iPad initiative. The Foundation helped defray the cost for CHS students to purchase their own iPad.
Donors who would like to become a Foundation Champion may do so with a $200 donation, which is tax deductible and secures two tickets to Boots & BBQ. Individual tickets may be purchased for $25 each. Tickets may be purchased by calling Betty Brown at 903 886-3755 or coming to the Central Administration Building at 3315 Washington St.

Plan to attend for a good time benefitting a worthy cause.


Nine projects receive funding

The CSEE Foundation funded nine projects for the 2012-2013 school year.


I Give for iPad raises over $6900

The CSEE Foundation helped CHS students purchase iPads by reducing their cost from $379 to $300 each. The Foundation's $30,000 donation for the cause will continue to help students purchase their own device.

Cypress Bank gave $2000 to the initiative and Guaranty Bond Bank financed the iPads at a low interest rate.

Thanks to our community partners and the CSEE Foundation.


Boots & BBQ raises over $17,000

CSEEF chalks up another successful year in fundraising with its Boots & BBQ celebration held April 21 at Commerce High School. Over $17,000 was raised to benefit CISD academic programs in math, science, technology and fine arts. Seventh graders read stories on their beliefs written during their Writing Camp. Elementary students performed their cowboy dance they learned in conjunction with their study of Texas history and their trip to the state capital. Old friends and alums reconnected as they do every year, much like during a school reunion.

Commerce ISD truly appreciates the time, effort and the donations made by the Foundation donors and, especially the Foundation Board.


Ten projects receive funding for 2011-2012

Foundation Board members notified grant proposal writers that their projects were funded Publisher's Clearinghouse-style with plenty of fanfare. Click the following link for the entire story.


Foundation awards grants for 2010-2011 school year



2010 Boots & BBQ event a 'success' 

The annual Boots & BBQ fundraiser hosted by the Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation at Commerce High School April 17, 2010 was deemed a success by organizers having brought in over $11,000 to benefit the Commerce Independent School District.

Foundation President Jack Pirkey said 45 gifts of $200 or more earned donors the distinction of being called Foundation Champions.

This year's grant recipients showcased projects funded by the Foundation at the fundraiser. Kindergarten teachers Karen Davis, Samantha Bland, Nancy Hill, Heather Kilgore, Susan Lampe and Sonya Mathews used grant funds to purchase iPod Touches to enhance vocabulary skills in their classrooms.

Elementary music teacher Angela Neal used funds to bring percussion musicians into the schools in her Peanut Butter Jammin' Around the World concert series. Fifth graders performed at the fundraiser using drums purchased with grant funds.
Fourth graders were able to again visit Austin through funds provided by the Foundation. The day-long trip features stops at the State Capitol and the Bob Bullock Museum. The trip enhances the students' study of Texas history.
Digital cameras, Flip cameras and other technological equipment was purchased for use at A. C. Williams Elementary School by Technology teacher Kelly Cotton. Students use the equipment to make learning personal using pictures and videos to explain concepts they learn in the classroom, according to Cotton.
Books for the Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) program at Commerce Middle School were purchased with grant funds awarded to Principal Patrick Just and teacher Sherry Rector. Every day students at CMS spend 30 minutes reading for pleasure to enhance their skills.

Third grade students visited the Nature and Science Museum of Dallas using grant funds. Hands-on experiments at the museum enhanced learning for the third graders which are taught by Sondra Feduccia, Kathy Black, Jackie Orr, Teresa Robinson, Lucinda Rodriguez and Keiondra Simpson. Digiscopes and GoTemps were also purchased to enhance math and science instruction.

At Commerce High School, science teacher Wes Roberts was awarded a grant to replace laptops for student use. "I heard more comments this year about the quality of the presentations by the grant recipients. It's great to know our work is paying off to help student achievement," Pirkey said. Pirkey also said he was pleased to see people at the event who had not previously been involved. "I was happy to see new faces," he said noting he was glad the Foundation's work was being noticed and appreciated by a larger group.
Recently the Foundation received a $50,000 check from the Lowell Lebermann Jr. estate, fulfilling a pledge made by Lebermann prior to his death. Dr. Pirkey said the Foundation plans to continue offering grants in the fall. The Foundation awards $20,000 to $25,000 each year to benefit instruction in math, science, technology and the fine arts. Over $163,000 has been awarded during the last five years.
Persons wishing to contribute to the Foundation for grants to CISD teachers may do so at anytime by sending a check to CISD, 3315 Washington St., Commerce, TX 75429 or by calling Dr. Pirkey at 903 408-9600.



2009 grant awards total over $23,000

The Commerce ISD Board of Trustees recognized the CSEEF for presenting over $23,000 to Commerce ISD teachers who proposed initiatives to enhance instruction in math, science, fine arts or technology.

CSEEF Board of Directors Member Jean Appleton (left holding check) made the presentation to CISD teachers and Superintendent Blake Cooper at the November Board of Trustees meeting.


2009 Boots & BBQ Dinner/Fundraiser a great success!

The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation annual Boots & BBQ Fundraiser was a huge success, according to its organizers. The event, held April 18 at CHS, brought in over $16,000, surpassing last year's total and contributions and pledges are still coming in. The Foundation honored 41 Foundation Champions for giving $200 or more. Over 140 people attended and the goal is to greatly increase that number at the 2010 event, according to Loretta Kibler, Foundation Board member.

Superintendent Blake Cooper thanked the Foundation for the work they do to support our students by providing for needs outside the school budget in the areas of fine arts, science, math and technology.

Students gave presentations explaining how grant funds were used to enhance instruction. Fourth graders described their annual trip to Austin and how it helped in their study of Texas history. Middle school students showed how technology purchased with grant funds was used in the classroom. Teachers exhibited displays showing how grant funds were used.

The CHS Jazz Band provided entertainment during the event.

The CSEEF has provided over $173,000 to Commerce schools since 2005 (10/27/2009).
CHS Science Teacher Susan Erwin explains how grant funds were used.
ACW Principal Julia Robinson questions fourth graders about their Austin trip.
CMS Teacher Sarah Jones showcases her grant award.



Educators receive $24,919 in instructional grants

The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation presented $24,919 in grant awards to teachers at the CISD Board of Trustees November 2008 meeting. Grant funds will be used to purchase technology to enhance math and science instruction, fund a trip to Austin for all fourth graders and provide a professional jazz performance for elementary students. Foundation Board members attending the meeting were Jack Pirkey, president; Jerry Keeble, treasurer; Jerry Lytle, Loretta Kibler, Janet Peek, Wyman Williams, Patty Doster and Alicia Hulsey. Grant winners were Stephanie Critchlow, Travis Milsap, Susan Erwin, science at CHS; Mardi Leist, Celia Reid, Nicole Timmons and Bob Pugh, math at CMS; Sarah Jones, technology at CMS; Cadi Collins, third grade teacher at ACW; Julie McLeroy, Tina Bronson, Karen Hubbert, Donna Barton, Laura Finley, and Amy Scaff, fourth grade teachers at ACW; and Angela Neal, CES/ACW music.


Vendors give $10,000 donation

A total of $10,000 was received from Walsh, Anderson, Brown, Schulze & Aldridge, P.C.; Perdue Brandon Fielder, Collins & Mott, LLP; Claycomb Associates, Architects; and W. B. Kibler Construction Co., LTD to benefit the Foundation.


Lebermann pledges $50,000

The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation received a $50,000 pledge from Lowell H. Lebermann, a Commerce ISD alumnus who resides in Austin (shown at left). This gift is given to honor the memory of his parents Dr. Lowell Lebermann and his wife, Sue, former Commerce residents. The pledge will be paid in three increments beginning in November 2008.

“It is particularly pleasant for me to make this contribution in the names of my father, Dr. Lowell Lebermann and my mother, Sue Lebermann, because of their long-standing interest and involvement in Commerce. My dad owned and managed Lebermann Hospital from 1939 until his death in 1958. My mother continued to live in their Commerce home until she relocated in Austin. They had many good friends in Commerce and at the University (then East Texas State, now Texas A&M University-Commerce). I am proud for their names to live on in a meaningful way in Commerce and for the benefits that this grant will provide.”

Lebermann is the owner and chairman of the board of Centex Beverage, Inc., a multi-county wholesale distributor of Miller Brewing Company products and a wide assortment of imported malt beverages. He is a former board member of Valero Energy Corporation and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2004.
Currently, Lebermann is vice-chairman of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, trustee for the National Public Radio Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of the Aspen Music Festival and School. An extraordinarily active community volunteer, he serves or has served on numerous local and statewide boards including Envision Central Texas, the State-Capitol Restoration Committee, Opportunity Austin, and the Lady Bird Johnson National Wildflower Center. He is a former member of the University of Texas Board of Regents and served three consecutive terms on the Austin City Council.

“The Foundation is extremely fortunate to have a person of Lowell’s intense business acumen and knowledge of foundations to bestow this meaningful contribution in memory of his parents. This gift will have a lasting influence on the lives of Commerce ISD students,” stated Jack Pirkey, president of the Foundation.
The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation (CSEEF) was established by former CISD students to enhance opportunities for students in math, science, fine arts and technology. Since 2005, the Foundation has distributed over $140,000 to teachers who have presented proposals for funding. 


Each year fourth graders from A. C. Williams Elementary travel to Austin via charter bus to visit the Capitol and the Bob Bullock Museum. Funds for the trip are provided by the Foundation. 



Grant Winners for Spring 2008

Foundation grant winners for 2007-2008 were Ryan Weyrick, CHS math teacher; Kevin Shaw, CHS math teacher; Marilyn Thompson, CHS art teacher; Mike Bessonett, CHS science and math teacher; Debora Lytle, CMS art teacher; Jerry Keeble, Foundation Board Treasurer; Janet Peek, Foundation Board member; Casey Chaney, CHS math teacher; Janet Duncan, Foundation Board member; Pam Cole, CMS social studies teacher; Toni Hamlin, CMS social studies teacher; Janet John, CMS social studies teacher; Angela Neal, elementary music teacher; Julie McLeroy, ACW fourth grade teacher; and Jack Pirkey, Foundation Board President.