Written by James Bell
It may only be midsummer, but the Hays Room is already gearing up for its annual district educator celebration.
Education Appreciation Dinner from 5 to 7 pm August 30 at Rose Garden Valhalla, 2350 H. viii.
But for those looking to get in on the action, now is the time, said Hays Chamber President and CEO, Sarah Wassinger.
“Timing is of the essence for this event, just because we have to put a few things together to be ready for that day,” she said. “So if your business is interested in being a sponsor of an upcoming event, we’d love to sit down and either visit you at the room office or come to your location and talk to you about what this all looks like.”
She said they hope to finalize the details by the end of July.
“We want all of this stuff and content to be ready the night of the event, as well as give you some time to choose if you want to include any items in your Swag bag,” Wassinger said. “As we know, things don’t always happen on time nowadays, some delay due to supply chain issues. So we want to make sure there is plenty of time for you to be happy with how it all went.”
The Chamber works with sponsors to ensure that their contribution is visible during the event.
“We find different ways to make our companies and sponsors stand out,” Wassinger said. “Depending on your membership level, we invite some of these sponsors to the event, and we offer our top tier to major sponsors, this is an investment of $700, and that will include a 30-second commercial that will be involved in the event.”
She said sponsorship is a way to provide a company or service to the education community.
“We have three different levels of sponsorship for people to take advantage of if they want to be a part of the event,” Wassinger said, adding that new sponsors are always welcome.
She said booth space is available as well as “a good way to mingle with the people who will be attending.”
“And then we also have different ways on social media to announce the event as well, as well as on our digital Chamber newsletter, and sort of our invitations that are going to go out, we’re going to show our sponsors, a lot of great insight, but really just a chance to say thank you for the great work you’ve done. They did it,” Wassinger said.
As the Chamber and event sponsors come together for those teachers who want to attend, the only thing to do now is save the date.
“We will be working with officials from each of the different departments of the school to gather responses to the invitation,” Wassinger said. “More details will come. If for any reason they don’t see this information in the future, they can certainly feel free to call the room and let us know that they plan to come that night.”
She said RSVPs are needed to complete an accurate meal count, and when they arrive, the room will maintain a master list of attendees from across the county.
“This event is for all educators in Ellis County, not just Hayes,” Wassinger said. “We have Hays schools, Catholic schools, Hays public schools, and obviously Victoria and Ellis have their public school systems as well. And then, of course, we have St. Mary’s in Ellis. We also include Fort Hays State University and NCK Tech, as well as the Hays Academy of Hair Design. … We want all teachers who have added focal points to the lives of our children or students to come with us that evening.”
Besides dinner, the first 150 people will receive various items from the sponsors.
“Then we give them time to sit together and socialize, maybe meet up with friends they haven’t seen over the summer, or also introduce themselves to the new teachers,” Wassinger said. “This is kind of a formal event, you don’t have to dress up fancy, but we want to give all the different managers or directors a chance to introduce their new employees present.”
But most importantly, she said, they hope they can share their full appreciation of their work with the teachers.
Wasinger said, “There is no greater talent than the ability to open someone’s mind to help them realize their capabilities.” “This is not an easy task, and there is a lot that goes into that. So the purpose of appreciating education is to have a night where we can say thank you for everything you do. And it really is a great way for us in the business community to get around the teachers in our neighborhood.”