The Norcross Cluster Schools Partnership quietly celebrated its first anniversary in July.
The non-profit organization, whose mission is to encouage the achievements, enrich the experiences and enhance the opportunities of students in the Norcross cluster, has already accomplished so much in such a short period of time it's hard to imagine it's only been around for one year.
Partnership Treasurer Ranae Heaven said, "We feel like it's been a very successful first year. We're still a work in progress, but we did start to make a difference in our community."
Some might say that is an understatement.
The group was organized last July under the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation and, through its fundraising efforts, collected more than $20,000, no simple task considering the economy and state's high unemployment rate.
Heaven is quick to express her gratitude not only for the financial support from corporate sponsors like Gas South, the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs but also for the volunteers whose hard work made so many of the partnerships initiatives possible.
And, Heaven said, "We were especially excited to be supported by the Corners to Crossing organization." Corners to Crossing donated a check for $4,500.
That kind of generosity enabled the partnership to support a variety of projects from buying books for classrooms to improving playgrounds, and paying for special achievement testing for lower income students.
"Not everyone can donate money," Heaven said. "But everyone can do something. Even it its just going to the schools in the cluster and thanking the educators for their effort in educating the children."
For example, when the principal at Summerour expressed a desire to establish a Saturday school for students who needed extra help, Heaven says it was Norcross First United Methodist Church and Perimeter Church that stepped forward and almost singlehandedly took on the project with transportation support from the partnership.
Schools in the Norcross cluster include Beaver Ridge, Norcross, Peachtree, Simpson and Stripling elementary schools and Pinckneyville and Summerour middle schools as well as Norcross High School.
The partnership will hold its next big fundraiser, a second chance homecoming dance on Nov. 12 at the Racquet Club of the South. You can support Norcross schools by buying tickets to the dance, providing items for a silent auction or by sponsoring the event.
For more information, visit the website at www.norcrosscsp.org or call 678-615-0593.