KFEE plans second Wine and Cheese Gala


The Kosciusko Foundation for Excellence in Education (KFEE) is hosting the Second Annual Wine & Cheese Gala on Feb. 9 from 7-9 p.m., at Barristers Hall, located at 133 N. Madison St.

The Gala will feature wine donated by The Hive Wine & Spirits, music from the Holmes Community College Jazz Band and vocalists. Guests will enjoy remarks from Dr. Michael Cormack, CEO of the Barksdale Reading Institute.  Tickets to the Gala Thursday night are $100 per couple and may be purchased by contacting Hart Pettit at 739-8828. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.

KFEE has been a major contributor to Kosciusko public education for over 25 years.  In 2016, KFEE began a revitalized effort to boost fundraising for use in major education enhancement initiatives, beginning with the First Annual KFEE Wine & Cheese Gala.  KFEE raised around $11,000 through individual and corporate giving and unveiled a new Facebook page at the Gala.

“With newly invigorated community and business support, KFEE explored the best use of its efforts and fundraising revenue for the 2016 school year,” KFEE member Katie Wallace said. “The answer became apparent when the KFEE was approached by the Barksdale Institute with the opportunity for Kosciusko Schools to serve as the template for an expansive public pre-K program.”

Barksdale provides funding and parent programing designed to provide learning tools not only to children, but also their parents.  Research has shown education beginning earlier and enhanced parental involvement play a huge role in the development of successful students, and ultimately, successful members of society.  KFEE facilitated meetings between the Barksdale Institute and the school and has remained involved in the development process.  As a result of these efforts and collaboration, Kosciusko Lower Elementary now includes 7 pre-K classes in a state of the art, colorful Pre-K Village.

KFEE contributed to the startup of the Pre-K Village classrooms with the purchase of learning tools, such as blocks, manipulatives and musical instruments.  KFEE also contributed $25,000, matched dollar for dollar by the Kelly Gene Cook Foundation, for the purchase of a new playground.

Finally, KFEE has contributed funding and coordination efforts to the construction of a bell tower for the Pre-K village.  The bell tower will sit at the center of the Village and feature an antique school bell donated by Mrs. Anne Porter, from her late husband, Mr. Cadman Porter, beloved former educator and principal of Kosciusko Schools.  The playground and bell tower are expected to be completed in March 2017.

“KFEE is thrilled to have played a role in development and enhancement of the Pre-K Village,” Wallace added. “KFEE’s plans for 2017 include planning and executing a Jr. High Career Day, focused on informing kids at a young age about a wide range of careers that are available to them in Attala County and elsewhere and how they can set attainable goals to follow those career paths.”

Future plans for KFEE include plans to continue classroom grants and ACT training. KFEE encourages parents, teachers and friends to support the continued enhancement of Kosciusko Schools by attending the Gala.


Hugh Lee Ballard, Jr. died in his home on April 20, 2018, in Ethel, MS. He was 78.