Rising Stars — Teachers, Students Honored by PUSD Education Foundation

Agala banquet sponsored by the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation (PUSDEF) in late April saw eight teachers and eight students honored as “extraordinary persons.”

Five generations from the prominent Emmet Hicks and Taylor Hicks families also were recognized as outstanding PUSD alumni.

The Rising Stars Banquet was the 4th annual fundraiser for the PUSDEF.

Teachers honored were Paul Funnel, Kelly Cordes, Bill DeKemper, Cari Greco, Debra Holliday, Erin Sobo, David Stengel and Carol Yetman. Students were Stephanie Brown, Hunter Kronberg, Judah Neese, Caleb Ortiz-Garzaran, Ryan Peeples, Maddison Pierce, Nicolas Robishaw and Josephine Rudy. Those honored were nominated by either teachers, administrators or counselors.

The event was chaired by Cheryl Fernandez.

Recognition of Hicks family descendants was a program highlight. The Hicks family began contributing to public education when it first arrived in Prescott in 1912 — the same year Arizona became a state.

In the 107 years since, 20 descendants of the Hicks family have attended Prescott schools. Many remained in the community and continued working in the Hicks Dental Practice, which Taylor Hicks founded. Taylor Hicks Elementary School is named after him.

Sponsored by Yavapai Regional Medical Center, the Perry and Sandy Massie Foundation and Yavapai Title Agency, the banquet netted several thousand dollars in contributions, said Kathy Sischka, PUSDEF board member. She said money generated through the fundraiser is used to support grants for qualified teachers, provide program support, fund renovation of facilities and playgrounds and other needed and necessary projects that benefit all levels of the public schools, especially students.

Sischka said, “We’ve been extremely blessed with support from the community and from other foundations and charitable groups.”