San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 8th, 2008
Creating a community of learners

by PHYLLIS SNODGRASS

On Saturday October 11, San Marcos Educational Partners (SOAR), an assortment of for-profit and non-profit organizations who are committed to higher educational attainment in San Marcos, will come together to bring our community the first San Marcos Education Fair. The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of SOAR and its mission to make our community more aware of the importance of educational attainment to our shared future.

For almost two years now, we have been talking about what it will take for our community to step up to the next level.  First and foremost, we recognize the need to make education a priority in this community and to encourage member businesses to support educational initiatives aimed at bringing up our attainment levels.  It’s not just a matter of community support. It makes good business sense. An educated community is a more prosperous and engaged community.

Higher educational attainment levels increase lifetime earnings significantly. This is the basis of SOAR’s primary message to San Marcos – that EDUCATION PAYS.  Step one — graduating from high school. Many students from economically disadvantaged homes are tempted to drop out for financial reasons. But doing so limits their future opportunities. Staying in school guarantees them an average income of over $1 million dollars more than a student who does not stay in school and graduate. Yes – you heard it right – choosing not to drop out pays off — over $1 million dollars over a lifetime of earnings.  That is significant. Step two –- higher education.  Graduating from college brings in an ADDITIONAL $2.1 million dollars over a lifetime.

The San Marcos Educational Partners want to bring this message home to San Marcos students and families in a fun and informative way by hosting the first ever San Marcos Education Fair on Saturday October 11 at the San Marcos Activity Center.  Over 50 community and education partners will be present offering everything from information on social services, tutoring, college access, and educational support services to fingerprinting and mentoring.  As presenting sponsor for the Event, State Farm Insurance is excited to be supporting this initiative and will be present at the event, visiting with attendees. A special guest appearance by the “Good Neighbear” is planned as well.  Rodeo performers from the Hays County Fair will be on hand as well, giving out free tickets for the evening’s bull-riding event.  As an added bonus – there will be drawings for prize giveaways for families that attend the event.  Everyone attending the Education Fair will be presented with an Education Passport. After visiting with a minimum of 6 booths, passports can be turned in and attendees are then eligible to enter drawings to win laptops, I-pods, gift cards, bicycles and other great prizes.  Proof – once again – that EDUCATION PAYS!  Plan on attending this year’s fair – and tell friends and co-workers about it as well.

SOAR is a collaborative effort and welcomes the help and support of any organization wishing to make a difference in San Marcos Education. SOAR encourages partnerships and collaboration and looks for ways to create greater impact by combining resources and eliminating duplication of effort.

The San Marcos Education Committee is a group of educators and business volunteers, proudly partnering with SOAR, to make a real difference in Education in San Marcos. For information on how you can participate – please call the chamber at (512) 393-5900.

PHYLLIS SNODGRASS is president of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce.

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