San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

January 25th, 2009
How to build a community of leaders

By PHYLLIS SNODGRASS
San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce President

The day that the winner of the high school science fair gets the same press coverage as the winning touchdown in Friday night’s game, we will know we have arrived.

Until we are there, there is still much work to be done.  Education absolutely must become a priority in our community for every student and every family.

During the past two years, the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce education committee has embarked on a bold mission to try and effect real and positive change by creatively engaging the business community into the business of our schools. In the process, some exciting results are coming forth.

Why should members of this community, those without children in San Marcos CISD, care? What’s in it for them? Because Education Equals Economics (E3).

That’s the premise behind the regional educational effort, the E3 Alliance.  And that’s where the San Marcos Chamber enters the picture, taking on the challenge to spread the message – that the future of this community and this entire region rests in our ability to educate our entire population to its highest potential. Education increases the capacity of families to raise and support their children, thus raising the economic base of our community.

San Marcos cares about its kids.  Our local school district is working hard to reach its at-risk children, serve all those in need and make sure that every child in SMCISD succeeds to her fullest potential. But the school district needs our help. Our schools need additional mentors, volunteers and active participation. In addition to calling for improved standards at the state level, the San Marcos Chamber is committed at the local level to making a difference by bridging the gap between the business and educational community and bringing resources to the table to address the needs of the schools in our community.

We are working with Big Brothers Big Sisters by recruiting mentors for San Marcos youth. We are seeking sponsors and teams for Bowl for Kids Sake, the Big Brothers, Big Sisters signature fundraising event to be held in San Marcos on Feb. 7. We are staffing a FAFSA workshop on March 7 at San Marcos High School to help high school seniors and their families fill out financial aid applications for college. We are working to match schools with business partners that can help them achieve their goals.

On Jan. 22, more than 100 San Marcos business leaders came together at a San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues Breakfast Program at the San Marcos Activity Center, where they were presented with a report on the state of education in San Marcos.  They heard from John Sharp, former state comptroller and a goal leader of the regional E3 Alliance, Dr. Denise Trauth, President of Texas State University and Dr. Patty Shafer, Superintendent of SMCISD. They told the attendees why it matters, what is being done locally, and how each and every person in this community can make a difference.

As Sharp so clearly stated, “Our past resources in Texas were cattle, cotton and oil. Today our resources are our human resources. Whether that is a help or a hindrance to our community depends on our willingness to invest in and develop those resources. This is the foundation of tomorrow’s economy and we need to take it seriously, today.”

Let’s resolve for 2009 to truly make San Marcos, Texas a Community of Learners. You can reach us by phone at (512) 393-5900 or email us at main@sanmarcostexas.com. The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is focused on business, focused on education – and focused on you. Check us out on the web at www.sanmarcostexas.com.

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