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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 18, 2002 Kennett National Bank has made a $50,000 pledge to the Kennett Area Higher Education Center (KAHEC) to be used to create a student lounge at the facility. From left are George Paul Harris, Marianne Dalton and David Dalton, all members of the banks Board of Directors and Education Committee; Marsha Blanchard, director of the Kennett Area Higher Education Center; and Russ Burcham, also a member of the banks Board of Directors and Education Committee.


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 18, 2002 - Kennett National Bank has made a $50,000 pledge to the Kennett Area Higher Education Center (KAHEC) to be used to create a student lounge at the facility.

"Kennett National Bank has been so supportive of us and has been so generous with scholarships and now with this gift," said Marsha Blanchard, KAHEC director.

Blanchard says the gift comes as part of KAHEC's plans for a fund-raising dinner Nov. 12 with the theme "Education is the Key." The event is designed to raise funds to renovate unfinished space in the facility that would provide four additional rooms. A goal of $200,000 has been set.

Kennett National Bank is the first to sponsor one of the four needed rooms.

"Education is the key to so many of the social and economic problems in the Bootheel," she said. "They (Kennett National Bank) should really be commended for their support of education in the Bootheel. To have that kind of support means so much to the staff and students. We are just delighted that they felt so strongly about the Center and that this is how they chose to show it.

"The gift is really amazing," she added, "but the support behind us really means so much more."

Blanchard said John and Marianne Dalton, on behalf of the Board of Directors of Kennett National Bank, have pledged $50,000 to KAHEC over a five-year period. The gift is to be used to establish a much needed student lounge to be named in the bank's honor.

Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said, the Dalton's gift helps the University tremendously in honoring its mission to serve the region.

"Thanks to the Daltons, the Kennett Area Higher Education will be enhanced with a student lounge and will continue to bring quality post-secondary learning opportunities to people in and around Kennett," Dobbins said. "On behalf of Southeast, I would like to thank the Daltons for continuing their family's longstanding tradition of service to Missouri."

Kennett National Bank stepped forward with the gift to show their support for KAHEC, Mrs. Dalton said.

"We had been trying to get a higher education center here for a long time," Mrs. Dalton said. "We are just thrilled to death to have it. We would like to see it grow and to remain here in Kennett."

This is not the first time the bank has shown its generosity to KAHEC. Kennett National Bank gives four $500 scholarships per semester to KAHEC students. The bank's scholarship gift totals $6,000 annually.

Mrs. Dalton said the bank's Education Committee decided to make the $50,000 gift for a student lounge because it "could serve the center better right now."

Blanchard says the center could really benefit from having a lounge for students.

"We have grown to the point that we desperately need one," Blanchard said.

Currently, students who have driven a distance from cities such as East Prairie, Caruthersville and Ellsinore often have time between classes and have little space to study or to eat. Students currently do not have access to a microwave oven either, she said.

"We have some benches and some picnic tables outside," she said. "But that is not a good place to study with the weather and all," she added.

Blanchard says some students sit on couches in the Center's office, and others use the conference room when it is available. But growth in enrollment has most of the Center's classrooms filled on a regular basis, leaving no space for students to study or to pass time between classes.

If all goes as planned, a student lounge would be in place for the start of the 2003-2004 school year.

"I think we could realistically count on next fall," she said.

Pictured back row, from left, are George Paul Harris, David Dalton and Russ Burcham. From row, from left, are Marianne Dalton and Marsha Blanchard.


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