Community Builder: 41 years of service to school district

Connie McFarland presented Community Builder award
Connie McFarland presented Community Builder award

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Our latest Community Builder has been serving in the Lexington One School district for more than 41 years.

From volunteer, to school board member and currently Executive Director of the Lexington One Educational Foundation, Connie McFarland continues to make an enormous impact in the lives of those around her.

Two months after the Lexington One Foundation's latest event Dancing with the Stars Lexington, the board members who planned the event met to celebrate its success.

"We were worried, of course as you always are in any event you ever have, but when we finally realized what we made, we were ecstatic," McFarland said.

In only its second year-the event brought in $90,000. The money raised will go right back into Lexington One schools.

"STEM labs, updating media centers into learning commons, professional development, leader in Me," McFarland described the programs financed by the event.

As she does with every foundation event, McFarland led the charge for the dancing fundraiser. While she was already talking with her team about next year, what she didn't know is the meeting was about to take a twist.

"Connie I just wanted you to know that you have been awarded our Community Builder award. A $1,000 donation to the charity of your choice, but I have a feeling I know where this one's going," Matt Mungo with Mungo Homes said as he surprised McFarland at the meeting.

You can likely add that $1,000 to the more than $2 million McFarland has helped raised since becoming executive director of the foundation 12 years ago.

"She comes up with some great ideas and then she gets behind them and she makes them work and it's really amazing how she does everything that she does," foundation member Joan Kalec said.

Mike Anderson, who nominated McFarland, used to work with her and said she goes above and beyond the call of duty.

"Connie exemplifies exactly what a Community Builder is," he said. "When I read on WIS website about this opportunity I said, 'I know the exact person and she's just, her heart is the employees and students of Lexington One.'"

McFarland has been the brains behind numerous projects like the Lexington Employee Assistance Plan which helps employees and students in times of crisis.

"It's just amazing the number of people that we help," Kalec said. "This year we helped 80 students families and 25 employee families."

But you won't find McFarland taking the credit for all she's done. She points right back to those around her with a heart of gratitude.

"I'm one person, I can get it started but I can't make it happen alone," she said. "To find those dedicated people who have those same goals that's what it's all about."

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