You would be hard pressed to find a high school foundation in the country that raises more money for its school or a department that hasn't benefited by the hard work and dedication of the Norcross High School Foundation for Excellence.
With just one well-planned and executed event, the foundation set a new record for fund-raising at its Gala VI this spring. More than 480 people enjoyed the evening while raising more than $100,000 for Norcross High.
The event, held at The Fields Club in Peachtree Corners, featured the Hall of Fame induction of former NHS parent and community supporter Cheryl Collins, former NHS teacher Daniela Taylor, and NHS parents Jan & Aaron Lupuloff as well as an evening of dancing to to the music of Terry Lee & the GTs and dining, courtesy of J. Alexander's.
Jenny Chapin who, along with her husband Bob, have been co-presidents of the organization the last three years, said the main purpose is to "fill the gaps between federal and state funding and what the school actually needs."
From the school's Art Department, where tools for woodworking and jewelry making were donated, to the Media Center, where laptop computers, books and magazines were provided for students, to the baseball field, where new turf was purchased not just for the baseball team, but also for the band and lacrosse teams that use the field, the foundation touches all areas of the school.
Thanks to a generous donation from Paul Duke, founder of Technology Park, the foundation built the fabulous Paul Duke House, a 4,000 square foot gathering place for Touchdown Club members as well as other booster clubs. The facility, which cost in excess of $300,000, is equipped with a kitchen and other amenities.
Jenny Chapin said she recently learned the Duke House also had another important function.
"The administration has also been using it for a place to provide extra help for at-risk students, she said. "It's quieter and there are fewer distractions there."
Other gifts provided by the school include the Matrix sign that greets school visitors, teacher grants that impact students, a pavilion located by the tennis courts providing shade and water, a trophy case in the school's foyer and teacher scholarships for continuing education.
The Foundation has a 28-member Board of Directors and 15-20 very active members who are non-board members. Aaron Lupuloff is the vice president, Mark Willis is secretary and Ware Gratwick is the treasurer.
"I'm very proud of what we have accomplished," Chapin said. "I believe the Foundation is in the top tier of foundations of this kind in the nation. Our board has done some research on this across the country and the consensus is we are on the right track. Our foundation has raised as much money or more than almost any other foundation in the country. Our hope now is to get more alumni involved."