Founders Classical Academy of Leander honors veterans and teachers with surprises

Community

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (KXAN) — As the saying goes we honor all those who serve on Veterans Day, but Founders Classical Academy of Leander made sure to include one more group in the fold: teachers.

Founders’ Archers Council gathered parents, teachers, and students inside their auditorium Monday morning.

The gathering started as usual with students presenting colors and everyone pledging allegiance to the flag. But then students lined up front and sang military songs paying respect to each branch.

Headmaster Doug Sowers followed by reading a message to veterans in attendance:

We are here today to pay our respects to all the men and women who have served in the military in the United States. This is a day to say ‘thank you’ to them and to celebrate their accomplishments. It is because of them and many other brave citizens that we enjoy the freedom and liberty that are the cornerstones of citizenship in our country.

Sowers

Honoring veterans didn’t stop there.

A teacher-lead student group presented slides of veterans they met in France at a D-Day remembrance ceremony including “Rosies.”

Sowers then told everyone to stand up and honor the veterans in the crowd. Each raised their hands to applaud.

U.S. Navy Veteran Terry Godoy, who served overseas in the Gulf War and Somalia for 5 years is one of those who raised their hands. He said of the moment:

It’s extraordinary. When you those four or five years of your life as your first interment into the military, you never think you’re going to have this day but once you go through it… and you go through the perils of what happens in those four to five years or longer… it’s an amazing journey and when you’re remembered for it, it’s very important for you that day and for the days to come to know you did something great for the United States, yourself and your family.

Godoy

Soon after, attention turned to those who serve our students: teachers.

Students also carried jars of notes for teachers and placed them upon the podium.

The big surprise

Chairman of the Archers Council, Elliot Pemberton along with other members brought out a check with it’s back turned towards the crowd. In the past, they’ve raised money for teachers as a “Christmas bonus.”

This year’s raised the bar even higher.

Pemberton announced, “We raised over $115,000!” He said it blew away everyone’s expectations.

“It just shows the generosity of the parents here, and really how much they appreciate the extraordinary things going on here: the things the teachers do, and the culture of the school. People want to be a part of it,” Pemberton said.

The total is $45,000 more than last year. The teachers will receive $35,000 of that total for their bonuses.

The amount means a lot. Teachers at Founders Classical Academy generally receive a lower salary than their counterparts at local public schools because state funding isn’t allocated equally, a parent said in a ReportIt message to KXAN. The school’s parents decided to take action to make up for this shortfall as a result. Volunteers asked the school’s families to donate a “holiday bonus” check for their teachers instead of fundraising.

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