KVUE continues a legacy of serving Central Texas with the 2016 TEGNA Make A Difference Day. This year, we focused on helping the Katherine Anne Porter School (KAPS) in Wimberley, Texas. KAPS is a charter school that serves special kids from seven Central Texas counties. They only get 80 percent of the state funding that public schools receive, and get no money for facility maintenance or upgrades. Located in Hays County, KAPS has flooded four times in the past two years. The school is in drastic need of some major upgrades to ensure that these children are able to continue learning in a safe and special environment.
And yet KAPS continues to serve the community despite these challenges, having served as the main food distribution center during the 2015 Hays County floods. They give a lot to Central Texas; now it's time for us to give something back.
Thanks to a generous grant from TEGNA, and sweat equity from KVUE staff and volunteers, we went to Make A Difference for the Katherine Anne Porter School on October 22nd. Our plans included building a berm to flood-proof the front of the school, power-washing and improving the front entrance, and updating signage.
Superintendent Coni Wilson was blown away by the support Saturday morning when dozens of volunteers showed up.
"Awesome! It is awesome. I am grateful for the help. I am grateful for the changes it's going to make," Wilson said. "I think it's all supporting our kids. That's what it's about, supporting students who are going to be our future citizens."
Several students even came Saturday morning to help out.
"I don't want to feel like a freeloader," said KAPS senior Morganne McCann. "I don't want to go to a school that I haven't helped take care of, so when I saw the people were helping out I was like, 'You know what, I can't just pick up my bike and leave and watch all these people work to make the school I go to a better place.'"
Several local businesses and residents also stepped up to help in our efforts. The Leaning Pear, Wimberley Rental, SIP! on the Square house, Wimberley HEB, Geo Growers, McCoys, Barbara Latimer of Hills of Texas Real Estate, Sharon Reece, Jodi Holschuh, and Craggs Do It Best Lumber and Home Center all donated materials towards construction efforts.
We met with one Austin woman who called to say she wanted to donate tools towards the construction efforts.
"I have so many things that i just not using any longer, and when I heard you all needed shovels, I went 'Ahh, I've got a whole group of shovels out in the shed!' so that's how it came," said Barbara St. Aubrey, through laughs.
St. Aubrey has lived in Austin for 50 years and said growing up her family stressed the importance of giving back.
" I just think it creates community. And we're all the big fire so to speak, and we've got to make room for everyone, and not everyone has what you have. So you just share what you've got," explained St. Aubrey.
She added that she has a personal connection to Wimberley.
"Years ago my daughter lived in Wimberley, so there was a soft spot there," St. Aubrey explained.
Donate to KAPS here: https://kapschool.z2systems.com/np/clients/kapschool/donation.jsp