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story.lead_photo.caption PHOTO SUBMITTED John Willis of Pineville is the 2018 Heart of Education honoree. John served as the first principal at the new McDonald County R-I High School in 1967.

On Saturday, March 10, the McDonald County Schools Foundation will host its fifth annual Heart of Education Banquet at McDonald County High School. The purposes of this event are to annually honor deserving community members, to showcase McDonald County student and staff achievements and to publicize and raise funds that will support the mission of the foundation.

John Willis is this year's honoree. As the first principal at the newly consolidated McDonald County R-I High School in 1967, John moved his family, wife Lola and four children, Nyta, John, Phyllis and Tracy, to the area. Each of his children graduated from McDonald County High School, as have two of his grandsons. John was vital in making all the students comfortable in their new school community. He instilled pride in them becoming the first Mustangs, as first Pineville and Anderson and then additional county schools joined the district. He gave generously of his time and wisdom to unify the student body, friendly efforts that earned him respect and made him very effective in his role as an administrator.

John served the district for 24 years, first as high school principal and then as assistant superintendent, retiring in 1991. After retirement, John continued his efforts for the district as a two-term school board member. John also spent time in the schools teaching students how to make rope and attending sporting events. He loved all students and would always have words of encouragement to former students as they became adults. John Willis is truly a McDonald County R-I icon.

In addition to honoring John, the banquet will feature a Student Showcase with displays and performances from a wide variety of K-12 student programs. ProStart, a culinary program within the high school FACS department, will decorate tables and cater the three-course meal. It promises to be an evening of entertainment that can be enjoyed by area business people and school district patrons alike.

The McDonald County Schools Foundation has been granting scholarships and funding teacher initiatives since 2008, totaling approximately $270,000. Tickets sold to this event will support and expand those efforts in the future.

The foundation board is seeking to obtain sponsors for tables of eight and to reach out to individuals interested in continuing a high level of quality in the McDonald County School District. Table sponsors will be acknowledged during the evening's program and will have a table sign indicating sponsorship that will include eight complimentary dinners for an organization. Table sponsorship cost is $250. Tickets for individuals are $25 each. Tickets may be purchased in Anderson at Mustang Drug or the District Office of McDonald County Schools, in Pineville at the Waco Title Office and in Southwest City at Cornerstone Bank.

Business casual will be the attire for the evening and will open with the Student Showcase beginning at 5:30 p.m., then continue with dinner and program beginning at 6:30 p.m.

For further information about banquet plans, contact one of the above ticket locations or call Alice Snodgrass, the foundation treasurer, at 417-529-6555.

General News on 02/08/2018

Print Headline: 2018 Heart Of Education Banquet To Honor John Willis

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