Ralls Elementary School Earns Operation Round Up Grant

December 28, 2016

“Thank you to the members of South Plains Electric Cooperative for the opportunity to engage my choir students in a higher level of performing than they have ever experienced,” said Kathy Taylor, Ralls Elementary Choir Director.

The Operation Round Up Board of Directors initiated a program offering small, $500 grants to teachers. Grants were available to K-12 teachers in music/art and science for the 2015-2016 school year. The funds are made available by South Plains Electric members who ask to have their monthly bill rounded up to the next dollar. The extra change, averaging only $6 per year, funds projects like the teacher mini-grants, scholarships and much more. The program is also funded by the generosity of members like Glen Williamson, who donated $1,500 to fund three of the grants. He made this donation because he believes in supporting education.

Operation Round Up was established in 1993 to help communities and individuals needing a hand up, not a hand out. The program’s tagline, "neighbors helping neighbors," is at the heart of why South Plains Electric Cooperative exists.

During the past 24 years, Operation Round Up has helped hundreds of individuals and organizations. Many donations go unpublicized out of respect for the individual recipients. Operation Round Up, under the guidance of a 10-member board, sometimes works quietly to improve members’ lives.

Ten teacher mini-grants were awarded for the 2015-2016 school year. The other recipients were: Cindy Starcher, Shallowater; Candace Cameron, All Saints Episcopal School; Denise Christopher, Abernathy; Ollie Hart, Abernathy; Rachael Hendrix, Frenship; Sara Masten, Shallowater; Sandra Ramirez, Patton Springs; Jana Simmons, Lubbock-Cooper; and Jeremy Wagner, Frenship.

The Operation Round Up board approved continuing funding the teacher mini-grants because it’s been such a successful program. You can sign up for Operation Round Up at www.SPEC.coop or call 806.775.7732. You may also sign up by checking the Operation Round Up box on your monthly bill.

Ralls fifth graders inspire musical talents with trip to Lubbock Christian University

Kathy Taylor, the elementary choir director at Ralls ISD, utilized the grant awarded to her by South Plains Electric Cooperative (SPEC) to enahnce her choir students’ performing abilities by planning a field trip to Lubbock Christian University (LCU) to work with their choir and director. Her grant request helped purchase literature and made this trip possible for her students. Here is her story:

Thank you, to the members of South Plains Electric Cooperative for the generous grant, which allowed my class to work with a college level director and an elite choir. On Friday, November 11, Ralls Elementary fifth grade students, along with their classroom teachers; Ms. Ramirez, Ms. Rose, Ms. Rogers, and elementary music teacher, Kathy Taylor, traveled to Lubbock Christian University and met with Dr. Philip Camp, LCU Choir Director and one of the campus choirs. The elementary students practiced singing rounds and cannons in preparation for part singing with the college choir.

The Operation Round Up mini-grant provided music literature and the field trip for these students to enjoy an experience of a lifetime: singing with college students, some of which have performed internationally. The college students sang a cannon with my choir and supported the young elementary voices, giving them confidence in their performance efforts. It was inspiring to see the bonds between college and elementary students develop in just a short time. After listening to the LCU choir, everyone enjoyed pizza for lunch and the Ralls students were treated to a tour of the campus.

Thank you, South Plains Electric Cooperative, for this grant opportunity, and we look forward to adding more rounds, cannons and part singing to our repertoire.