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Business Officer Magazine

Transforming a Middle School

The fifth annual "Serving the Community" project brought together an enthusiastic group of more than 85 business officers and corporate partners to take part in NACUBO's tradition of giving back to the annual meeting host city. Some of the participants said they keep coming back each year because they enjoy the camaraderie and the satisfaction generated by making such a visible difference.

This year's effort took place at the A.J. Ferrell Middle Magnet School, located in a disadvantaged area, where the volunteers helped with the transformation of this school into the first public girls' academy in Tampa's Hillsborough County School District. The workers were welcomed by MaryEllen Elia, superintendent, and Doretha W. Edgecomb, school board chair, both of whom expressed many thanks on behalf of the school community. 

"I am so moved by the fact that perfect strangers from across the country would give up their Saturday to help us improve one of our schools," Edgecomb said. "We are truly grateful for this generosity."

Following their team leaders, groups of business officers headed off to paint; assemble furniture; renovate a teachers' lounge, resource center, the front office and principal's office; and replant a courtyard and entrance. By the end of the day, more than 40 percent of the school was painted, the courtyard beautifully landscaped, and three complete rooms of new furniture assembled and put in place.

"Once again we have exceeded everyone's expectations," said Ruth Constantine, vice president for finance and administration, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, and NACUBO board chair. "It is just amazing how much a group of energized volunteers can accomplish in a few short hours."

The project was once again a partnership of NACUBO and TIAA-CREF, with additional support this year from ARAMARK Higher Education, SunGard Higher Education, HD Supply, Microsoft, and SACUBO. Assisting in the logistics of the work were HandsOn Tampa Bay and the maintenance department of the school district.

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