The Burke Education Foundation Inc. held its fourth annual golf tournament on Friday, Oct. 11 at Mimosa Hills Golf Club. Twenty-seven teams participated and the players and sponsors helped make the event a success.

The Burke Education Foundation was formed in July of 2016 by a group of Burke County Public Schools stakeholders who wanted to find a way to further support the students and staff of the school system. The foundation officially received its 501C3 status in April 2017 and went to work carrying out its mission, which is, “To support powerful, innovative learning for all Burke County Public Schools students.”

Earlier in this school year, the foundation gifted $2,688 to East Burke Middle School for a mindful room. In addition to the foundation’s monetary gift, Kellex donated furniture for the classroom. The purpose of the room is to help students learn to manage their emotions, decrease stress and anxiety and redirect their energy in a positive way so they can be in a better state to focus on their education. Statistics show that anxiety, depression and suicide are on the rise among youth and so is the number of youth who will experience at least one traumatic event in their life.

East Burke Middle School counselors Heather Smart and Elicia Carter are designing the mindful room. They have taken a classroom at the school and plan to give it a fresh coat of paint, have students design artwork for the walls and make the overall space relaxing and enjoyable. They have started a yoga class and will be implementing techniques in small groups settings.

“We are so excited that our mindful room is coming together,” Smart said. “The yoga course has been extremely beneficial and will help us with our daily interactions with students on a variety of levels. Many of our students that have been in the room so far have enjoyed the space, feel relaxed and excited as well. We want to serve our students to the best of our ability and words can’t describe how grateful we are for the opportunity the Burke Education Foundation has provided. We are also thankful to Kellex for the furniture donation.”

The foundation’s largest fundraiser each year is the annual golf tournament. The monies raised from the tournament are helping to build the foundation’s coffers.

“While we look forward to the future and being able to make a greater impact on Burke County Public Schools students and staff, we decided to start with a small gift to one of the middle schools to help support the mental health needs of students,” foundation board Chair Chasity Poteat Rice said. “Our middle school students are facing many great challenges and many do not have a safe place to be open, share and find support as they deal with life challenges.”

In addition to Rice, foundation board members are Vice Chair David Bridges, Treasurer Rhonda Ensley, Secretary Cheryl Shuffler and members Johnnie Carswell, Sara Lou Succop, Richard Avery and Leslie McKesson. Burke County Board of Education representatives serving on the foundation are Randy Burns, Buddy Armour and Don Hemstreet.

The winners of the golf tournament was a team representing Morganton Honda and Randy’s Golf and RV Park. Second place went to the Freedom High School student team and third place went to the Patton High School teachers team. The tournament’s main sponsors were Pierce Group Benefits, Pepsi, Chartwells, John Greene and Wendy B’s.

“We would like to thank the Burke Education Foundation Inc. for its support of Burke County Public Schools and for all of those who helped make the golf tournament a success,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said. “It continues to grow every year. We would like to thank all of our sponsors, from our main sponsors to our hole sponsors and to the individual teams. It was a beautiful day on the golf course and it all went for a great cause.”

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