A lot of positive things happen in the public education system. But occasionally, there comes a story in which the level of goodwill displayed really impresses me.


Last week I found one of those stories as I was sitting at the Sherman Independent School District’s monthly board meeting. I go into board meetings with an idea of what the big story will be, but I also keep my ears open for other newsworthy tidbits to follow up on. So when I heard there was a local business owner who was willing to donate thousands of dollars to help students pay off their outstanding fees, I took notice.


Jason Schilli donated $8,500 to Sherman ISD, paying off every student lunch account with a negative balance — some 850 accounts to be precise.


In my mind, pretty much anyone who is willing to work as a roofer in the often-scorching state of Texas is likely a hard worker and deserves every dollar he or she brings in. So when I interviewed him, I asked what it was that pushed him to donate so much money.


To my question, Schilli said he was blessed to have a successful business and was simply in a position where he could spend his money on something he felt would have a positive impact on the community.


That night, Schilli was thanked by the school district, shook some hands, posed for photos and was applauded by the audience. Like most everyone in the room, I was impressed by his generosity. But the more I thought about his donation, the more I realized just how meaningful it really was.


Schilli downplayed his contribution and said that in some cases he probably paid off debts that only totaled a few cents. And a while a few cents my not make a big dent in the month’s rent, the weekly grocery bill or the car payment, it’s one less expense a family has to worry about. It’s something saved and a step toward greater stability.


We might not all be able to match the dollar amount of Jason Schilli’s donation, but we can learn from his example and do something, no matter how small, for the schools and students in our towns.



Happy birthday Wednesday to Joan Gordon and Ron Speed, both of Denison; Jim Welch of Pottsboro; Rylee Clifton; and Jennifer Ertel and Shudney Crumby, both of Houston.