Community Builder: school district volunteer honored for decades of service

Community Builder: school district volunteer honored for decades of service

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - One of the most recent meetings at Lexington-Richland District 5 headquarters was filled with a little extra excitement because of a special surprise.
While District 5 Foundation president Paula Hite made a presentation to district officials about the foundation's latest fundraising efforts, Matt Mungo walked in to surprise her with the news that she's our latest WIS Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.
"Because of all of your years of volunteerism and dedication to the Lexington-Richland 5 school district, you have been nominated and chosen as our latest Community Builder," said Mungo while giving Paula a hard hat. The announcement was met with loud applause and a standing ovation.
Hite has served in numerous volunteer capacities for more than 20 years in the district. While her children attended school in District 5, Hite actively served in the PTO and school improvement council. She was on the District 5 school board for 12 years, and in 2008 after her children had completed their schooling, she helped to start the District 5 Foundation. 
"Through her efforts and the efforts of the people she's rallied around her, they have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit the students here in our district," said Dr. Stephen Hefner, superintendent of Lexington-Richland District 5.
Those foundation dollars help support things like the district's snack pack program for students in need, the district-wide musical, continued flood relief efforts and innovative projects for students.
"This year we funded 87 students," said Mary Kennerly, who serves on the district foundation board with Hite. "They are creating and inventing things that will make life better for all of us and several of them have gotten patents and the items they invented were being marketed before they even graduated from high school."
Kennerly is Hite's "partner in crime" and nominated Hite for the WIS and Mungo Homes Community Builder award.
"She's very energetic and full of good ideas," added Kennerly. "A great organizer and a person who really does build community in lots of arenas in her life."

Hite said she's loves seeing the district thrive, but she won't take the credit.
"I don't think it's about me," said Hite. "It's really about all the people within the foundation that give countless hours, like Mary, to make this foundation successful and raise money for the projects."
But her humbled response didn't stop district leaders from making it known that they're grateful for all her efforts and most thankful for her heart. 

"Mrs. Hite's contributions to the district cannot be overstated," added Dr. Hefner.
Hite said her $1,000 donation from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation will go right back to the District 5 Foundation.

This year the district wide musical is Annie. Show times are Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m.; Friday, April 28 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 29 at 12 p.m.; and Sunday, April 30 at 3 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

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