J. Alvin Wilbanks, CEO/Superintendent, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Balloons decorating the Board Room a crowd of energized employees and students filling the chairs a celebratory feeling in the air. These are the signs that it must be October and time to salute the amazing achievements of Gwinnett County Public Schools' Relay For Life teams. It is a highlight of the Board of Education's calendar every year! That's because the school district consistently ranks as Gwinnett's number one corporate contributor in the American Cancer Society's signature fundraising event.
Annually at its October meeting, the Gwinnett County Board of Education recognizes the GCPS teams that raised $10,000 or more that year for Relay For Life. In 2016, the school district had 128 school or district office teams participating in Relay. Together they raised just under $1,066,750, or almost 60% of the $1,805,119 collected in total through the Gwinnett County Relay For Life. Among those 128 teams, 34 surpassed the $10,000 bar and were honored at the Board meeting.
In our schools and central office locations, Relay For Life has become more than a one-weekend activity in May; it is a year-long initiative through which teams of people from all over the school district join forces in the fight against a disease that very few people have not experienced firsthand, either personally or with someone they love. Besides raising money for cancer research, Relay For Life also is a terrific team-building experience whose benefits extend across the workplace.
GCPS' Strategic Priorities for 2010-2020 is a document that outlines the qualities we believe are desirable for 10 major components of the organization, one of which is Public Image and Community Pride. In that section we say that "our employees and students will contribute to the county's quality of life through their involvement in the community." Our vast participation in Relay For Life, United Way, and many such noble causes is a testament to that desired attribute noted in the Strategic Priorities. It also is evidence of the generous hearts and compassionate spirits of the people who are the lifeblood of Gwinnett County Public Schools.
With spring in full bloom, it's Relay For Life time once again in Gwinnett. As school district teams walk in support, or in memory, of those whose lives were touched by cancer, the Board of Education and I are proudly cheering them on. We look forward to recognizing their outstanding achievements again this fall!
"the Board of Education and I are proudly cheering them on."