The Wild for Cats academic booster club is kicking off their fundraising season this week, with committee members and LHHS staff taking their message to the community about the importance of the College and Career Center in the lives of students. The salary of center director Dr. Brenda Prine is paid by donations, not by the district, and Principal Peggy Dillon considers Dr. Prine a necessity Lake Highlands just can’t do without.

“Our number one goal is to educate children at LHHS,” Dillon told a donor group, “but we also want to send kids to college. It increases their earning potential, produces good citizens and boosts our property values.”

Dillon, in her second year at LHHS, noted that she realized how many couples living here had attended the school themselves after purchasing her own home in the neighborhood. “What’s so unique about this community is that people return to raise their kids here.”

“Brenda can work with kids who’ve never even thought that college was a possibility,” added Dillon. “They believed the best they could do was to work in fast food, landscaping or office cleaning jobs. Now we’re seeing kids having opportunities they’ve never had before. There is money out there [for scholarships and grants], but the process can be complicated and changes yearly. Through Brenda’s work, we’re seeing unbelievable results.”

“These kids are smart,” added David Wood, legendary English teacher at LHHS. “What happens at the high school impacts us all, and Brenda is helping to create a vision of each student’s future that spreads throughout the school. She shows them where they can go.”

In the three years she’s helmed the College and Career Center, Dr. Prine says she’s seen a 10% increase in kids going off to college. “We get lots of first generation kids who need help because their parents didn’t go to college. Many times, after I help one student, the next day they bring in a friend.”

So far this year, 56 college reps have visited LHHS during lunch to chat with students, and it was a full house when they hosted the College & Career Readiness Event with the PTA. Dr. Prine also speaks to sophomores in their history classes about preparing early, and she administers the Kuder interest survey to help guide kids to the right campuses and majors.

“Your kids may have already graduated from LHHS,” Wild for Cats Chairman Robb Stewart told the group, but if you live in Lake Highlands, this is still important to you.”

Wild for Cats hopes to raise $100,000 in 2012, with 75% going to fund the CCC. The Lake Highlands Women’s League has traditionally funded the rest with proceeds from their annual Holiday in the Highlands home tour.

If you’d like to donate, you can mail a contribution to the school, 9449 Church Road 75238 or you can donate online here (be sure to designate LHHS Wild for Cats). You can get more info by emailing Co-Chairman Kathy Stewart here, Dr. Brenda Prine here or Peggy Dillon here.