Ferguson Medical Group became the first Platinum Level Member of the Sikeston Public Schools Foundation by presenting a check for $10,000.
"It is no surprise that Ferguson Medical Group has made such a large commitment to education," said Robin Stoner, SPS Foundation director. "They have a long history of community giving and supporting public education. This donation is the kind of commitment we have been hoping to receive. It means a lot to know the physicians support the education goals of the Foundation."
In making this donation, Ferguson Medical Group is investing in Sikeston's future.
"Our gift to the Sikeston Public Schools Foundation reflects our commitment to the local area we serve. We're more than happy to invest in education in particular, since it returns double benefits -- better schools produce better graduates and better schools draw families to the area," said Ferguson CEO Kelley Rushing.
"In fact, Sikeston has a history of producing numerous physicians like Dr. Kevin Blanton, Dr. Andrew Boldrey and Dr. Kenneth Barkett. Luckily, more are in training that we hope will return to Sikeston -- Jessica Heironimous-
Lemmons, Trish Pelczynski-Taylor, Chelsea Grigeory and Danette Todt, as well as many others," he said.
Sikeston High School 1985 graduate Dr. Kevin Blanton, pediatrician, credits his local teachers for influencing his decision to return to Sikeston.
"We are blessed with a great public school system in Sikeston that has tremendous teachers. However, often the abilities of the schools are limited by inadequate funding. We are supportive of the Foundation as a step towards providing better funding for our schools.
"Given the fact that a lot of our leaders in the community, both in health care and otherwise, grew up in Sikeston, increasing the support of the Foundation will help secure our future and our children's future," Blanton said.
FMG realizes the relationship between education and health care.
"Sikeston Public Schools provided me with a solid education to pursue my professional career in the medical field. My education enabled me to complete my goals of giving back to my community in service as a physician and as a responsible citizen. I support the Foundation in their efforts in assisting teachers and providing student scholarships," said Dr. Kenneth Barkett, ophthalmologist, 1972 graduate of SHS.
The Sikeston Public Schools Foundation is dedicated to funding scholarships and promoting educational programs, activities and improvements throughout the school district.
"The Foundation is a wonderful opportunity for graduates and others in the community to support our public school system. It ensures future students will have the same opportunities and advantages needed to excel after graduation," said Dr. Andrew Boldrey, pediatrician and 1996 graduate of SHS. "SPS has stellar teachers; it's a shame unique and innovative teaching methods are sometimes limited based solely on lack of funding.
"There are several teachers that made a great impact on my life," Boldrey continued. "For example, Penny Hahs was my Eagle Program teacher who was extremely creative, especially when she had a tough group who was bored with routine schoolwork and had to keep them busy. Sharon Moran and Karen Moore were exceptional grade school teachers who I will always remember as well. I am confident the Foundation will be a great asset to the school system and that it will aid in continuing the tradition of sending the best and brightest students forth to make great societal contributions."
Although Ferguson Medical Group's members are pleased to have the distinction of being the first Platinum Level member, they hope they will not be alone at this level for too long.
"We hope our gift will motivate other businesses to do the same. We want to encourage, challenge if you will, the business community to come forward and help us get the Foundation rolling," Rushing said. "In order to have the best school system, we need the best teachers, the best facilities, the best sports programs and the best academic resources.
"These things take a lot of money. That is why the Foundation is so important," Rushing said. "They will be able to go above and beyond what the school system can do to make sure we can provide the best of everything for our schools. Because a school system is a direct reflection of its community, we believe support for the foundation should be and will be widespread."