2007-10-11 / Island Life

Mardi Gras puts money on education

Staff photos and story by Dan Parker

Clowning around Pokey the clown does some face painting for Kellie Owens, 11, at the Mardi Gras. Clowning around Pokey the clown does some face painting for Kellie Owens, 11, at the Mardi Gras. The Port Aransas Education Foundation held its Mardi Gras in October celebration on the evening of Friday, Oct. 5.

But the real celebration started after the event.

Foundation officials counted their intake and found that the fundraiser had made a profit of more than $40,000, doubling expectations.

More than 300 folks poured into the Civic Center for Mardi Gras in October, which featured a Cajun boil and live music, plus drawings, silent auctions and other fun ways for raising money for the non-profit group that benefits Port Aransas schools.

"We were just thrilled," said Janice Roberts, president of the foundation. "The overwhelming support of the community and our supporters is going to allow educators to have more money available for the tools and curriculum not normally available through normal school budgets."

After being established last year, the Port Aransas Education Foundation awarded more than $21,000 in grants to PAISD. The grants funded a wide variety of things, including teacher training, educational field trips and electronic equipment for faster grading and classroom presentations.

Having fun yet? Mardi Gras revelers Cynthia Frank, above, and Bob Byrd and wife Helen Schneider, are all smiles. Having fun yet? Mardi Gras revelers Cynthia Frank, above, and Bob Byrd and wife Helen Schneider, are all smiles. Roberts said she expects nearly all of the profit from Mardi Gras to be awarded in the form of grants to PAISD employees who make applications to the foundation for specific educational items and efforts.

School employees can begin applying for grants in November. The foundation's board of directors will decide which requests get funded. Roberts said she expects grants to be awarded this spring.

A barrow of booze Chris Shanklin hauls away a wheelbarrow full of booze he won in a drawing. A barrow of booze Chris Shanklin hauls away a wheelbarrow full of booze he won in a drawing. Higher education Three very tall people greeted revelers at Mardi Gras in October festivities at the Port Aransas Civic Center. Higher education Three very tall people greeted revelers at Mardi Gras in October festivities at the Port Aransas Civic Center. Mardi Gras mob More than 300 people attended Mardi Gras in October. In the foreground are, from left, Port Aransas High School teacher Randell Buttler, Port Aransas Independent School District Superintendent Billy Wiggins; Gayla Wiggins, curriculum/special programs coordinator at PAISD; third-grade teacher Helen Schneider; and Bob Byrd, principal at Brundrett Middle School. Mardi Gras mob More than 300 people attended Mardi Gras in October. In the foreground are, from left, Port Aransas High School teacher Randell Buttler, Port Aransas Independent School District Superintendent Billy Wiggins; Gayla Wiggins, curriculum/special programs coordinator at PAISD; third-grade teacher Helen Schneider; and Bob Byrd, principal at Brundrett Middle School. Mardi Gras band A two-man band, Alias Hart and Jones (Pete Hartje, left, and Mike Jones), belts out a tune on the Mardi Gras stage. Mardi Gras band A two-man band, Alias Hart and Jones (Pete Hartje, left, and Mike Jones), belts out a tune on the Mardi Gras stage. The prez Port Aransas Education Foundation President Janice Roberts addresses the Mardi Gras crowd. The prez Port Aransas Education Foundation President Janice Roberts addresses the Mardi Gras crowd. I won! Francis Stokes reacts upon learning that his key opened the lock on a box that held quite the prize: Two round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies, which covers most of the United States. In one of many fundraisers at the Mardi Gras, organizers put up 20 keys for sale at $50 each. Only one of the keys opened the lock on the box. I won! Francis Stokes reacts upon learning that his key opened the lock on a box that held quite the prize: Two round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies, which covers most of the United States. In one of many fundraisers at the Mardi Gras, organizers put up 20 keys for sale at $50 each. Only one of the keys opened the lock on the box. Yum! Paul Balcom and a plate full of Cajun food. Yum! Paul Balcom and a plate full of Cajun food.

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