History

History of Academic Booster Club

by Kathy Heavers

To understand the significance of A+BC, one has to understand what was going on in Montrose at the time.

The early 80’s represented a time of crisis for schools.

3 bond issues had failed – only 2 passed since 1955.

2 schools were condemned.

2 rural schools were closed.

Property owners were adamant against further tax increases.

Opponents to bond proposals cited: 

– too much money going to interest and not enough to bricks and mortar (buildings); and
– lack of  long range plan

as reasons to vote against any bond proposals.

Dollars became fewer and the demands greater.

Lack of support for education was overwhelming.

1983 

In a meeting at Montrose High School, the Principal told the Department Chairmen that the budget must be cut. 

Everyone at the meeting shared ideas regarding possible cuts and at the end of the meeting the Principal announced that if MHS cut athletics, the townspeople would be in arms; if MHS cut academics, no one would say a word. Everyone was appalled at that line of thinking.

In June/July of 1983 Kathy Heavers was invited to Rotary to talk about a Reading program she had created at MHS.  At the end of the talk, she was asked if she had anything else to say.

Although the MHS administrator was in the audience, and she wondered if she would get fired for sharing the results of the department meeting, she told the story.

At that time the Athletic Booster Club was very active in the community, and she ended her talk by saying,  “What we need is an Academic Booster Club!” That was all Rotary needed to hear. (Rotary, the movers and shakers in Montrose at the time, were known for being a group that got things done!)

On Aug 3, 1983 Ted Dickinson sent a letter addressed to “Academic Boosters” setting the date for a “think tank meeting.” A letter from Dave Clair to Rotary Board Members, Ted Dickinson & Bob Hale was found iTed Dickinson’s file, and in this letter Dave states, 

Rotary needs another worthwhile community project and one of this nature could go a long way toward helping the kids as well as giving the community an opportunity to focus its attention on the positive aspects of the school district.

The Rotarians got to work:

− Ted Dickinson was elected chairman; Donna Johnson, secretary; and Curt Robinson, finance director.
− There were 15 board of directors including:

Jerry Lincoln
Kelvin Kent
Tom Kearney
Patty Bryant
Curt Robinson
Larry Webster
Linda Faulkner
Jerry Kurtz
Andy Slee
Dave Clair
Paul Wisecup
Donna Johnson
Ginger Cockerham
Dr. Jim Peak

They wrote and adopted bylaws, and they set as their goal: “To recognize, promote and publicize academic achievement in Re-1J school system.” They planned to accomplish this goal in three ways:

− To award Academic Letters to any sophomores, juniors or seniors who had earned a 3.7 gpa the previous  year;
− To recognize Academic Excellence by honoring a “Student of Month” from each school in district each month of the school year;
− To fund grants requests from teachers, schools or students for materials not funded  in budget.

On Wednesday, Nov 2, 1983, they invited all service clubs in Montrose to a luncheon held at the Pavilion. University of Colorado Educational Administrator Mike Martin was the luncheon speaker and his topic was “What’s Right with American Education.”

They also hosted an evening meeting and invited teachers, parents, students, and interested community members and at this meeting they recognized the first set of Honor students from secondary schools in Montrose & Olathe.    

In December of 1983 they began their first Membership Drivewhich resulted in 25 student members and 160 adults and organizations with goal of reaching 500.

They had a number of Fundraising Drives which included:

1. Glenn Eyrie hosting a wine tasting and Chateau Briand dinner for 75 people with Steve Mirassou of Mirassou Winery of San Jose giving the presentation; 
2. Tom Long of McDonald’s sponsoring a coupon book; 
3. A Fun Family Scavenger Hunt at Centennial Jr. High; 
4. A Dessert Fashion show; and  
5. A Huge White Elephant sale at Friendship Hall with funds donated to A+BC)

They set up the following committees: Membership, Foundations; Publicity; Fund Raising; Programs and Events; 

They sent letters to Governor Richard Lamm, Astronaut Dr. Storey Musgrave to speak, and in January of 1984, they hosted Dr. Harry Wong, national ed guru. 

They had:

Summer School Program
A+BC buttons & T-shirts and Radio and TV spots

The formation of Academic Booster Club (A+BC) was entirely a community effort. Teachers were not allowed to be part for the first year. (I know because I asked and was turned down!) The second year teachers were allowed to be on the Grants Committee and then, finally, the Board. 

 A+BC received National Prominence

A+BC was mentioned in: 
− speeches by Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush;
− A visit and presentation by William Bennett, then U. S. Secretary of Education; 
− 1991 when Montrose was an All American City Finalist with the A+BC and the 

Cooperative Solutions for a Better Community components.