First-ever PEP Rally raises funds for PCSS students

Pictured Above – Putnam County Director of Schools Corby King praised PEP for their efforts to help PCSS students

More than 250 members of the community turned out Tuesday at the River Community Church to show support for the Putnam Education Partnership Foundation and Putnam County Schools in the first-ever PEP Rally fundraiser.

Corby King, the director of Putnam County Schools, highlighted the many accomplishments of PCSS students so far this year and praised the PEP Foundation for its effort to support students in Putnam County.

“Over the past year, the PEP Foundation has gone through the process of becoming an official PCSS Student Support Organization. Many of you will be more familiar with the “Booster Club” terminology when speaking about support organizations,” said King. “When our students graduate from high school and move on to the next phase of their lives, we want them to have the skills necessary to be successful, whatever path they choose. The PEP Foundation helps us realize that Vision.”

The event showcased PCSS students with:

  • the Prescott South Middle School pep band
  • mascots from various schools
  • a performance from some of the cast members of Newsies Jr., a PSMS production
  • lunch provided by the Cookeville High culinary arts class
  • a STEM display by Vital students
  • a video produced by the audio/visual class at Upperman High

“Our first PEP Rally was truly amazing. I felt the energy and support for PCSS students from beginning to end and from all walks of life,” said Rachael Stiles, President of the PEP Board of Directors. “Katelyn Steakley, our Executive Director, did an amazing job turning a vision into reality. And I could talk endlessly about my love for our students, especially those who transformed a fundraising luncheon into a real PEP rally! Today was better than I imagined, and I am so thankful.”

The PEP Foundation supports the Putnam County School System and its students, helping “provide resources and funding to various programs and initiatives.”

PEP’s goal is to support Putnam County Schools’ efforts to meet the needs of their students in the hopes that when they step into a classroom, they will be able to focus on their education and prepare for their future, according to the release.

“I am immensely thankful for the support we received for our inaugural event,” said Steakley. “Seeing the event come together and having the opportunity to highlight the potential of local students was an incredible experience. We are excited for what is to come, and because of our donors and supporters, we will be able to continue our work and find new ways to meet the needs of students in our community!”

Rick Burnett Servant’s Heart Award, which was made special by VITAL students, was given to Madie and Trevor Larsen of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit that makes beds for children who don’t have a bed to sleep on.

“The award is given each year in honor of pastor Rick Burnett, who developed the Backpack Program in Putnam County and has been instrumental in the growth and development of various programs of service that are still serving Putnam County Schools’ students,” according to a release by PCSS.

PCSS students through the BACKPACK Program, Student Needs Fund, and Performing Arts Grants and looks to expand to School Care Closets.

For more information on the PEP Foundation, go to

Photo provided.

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