Some GCSAA members may not realize the extent of the association’s role in the community of Lawrence, Kan. GCSAA employees are given two hours of company time each month to spend doing charitable work. One option is to work with the Lawrence schools through LEAP, Lawrence Education Achievement Partners. For the past 12 years or so, GCSAA has been an active member of LEAP as a partner with Wakarusa Valley Elementary School.
As a LEAP member, GCSAA also supports the schools through the Lawrence Schools Foundation and sponsors a table at the foundation’s annual breakfast. This year, Diane Kearns (Steve Mona’s executive assistant), Kellee Schmid (an account representative in Corporate Marketing & Sales) and I represented the association at the breakfast. Unfortunately, Ray Buckingham, the chairman of our LEAP committee, was unable to be there. (Hang on, I’ll get to the singing in a minute.) We shared the GCSAA table with Lawrence City Commissioner Dennis “Boog” Highberger, one of several local dignitaries who attended, and five of the Lawrence school district’s hard-working teachers.
Now to the singing. The guest speaker was Chuck Mead, front man for the rockabilly band BR549 and a graduate of Lawrence High School. Mead recalled his days as an incorrigible “agitator” in junior high and high school classrooms in Lawrence and warmly thanked his parents and the teachers who had encouraged him to play music. According to Mead, he spent a lot of time in the vice-principal’s office and one of his greatest disappointments was when bad weather prevented his band from playing on the roof of the high school in homage to the Beatles’ “Let it be.”
And then Mead sang for his breakfast, with the superintendent of schools joining in on guitar and vocals. If Mead hadn't been so good, he might have been upstaged by the act that followed, the tiny children from the East Heights pre-school program.
Attendance at the breakfast was the highest it's ever been, even though it was held the Friday before Labor Day weekend. Best of all, GCSAA and the other donors contributed a total of $54,000 to help the art and music programs in the Lawrence public schools. Awesome!