LPS Education Foundation ever thankful for support
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Gratitude and thankfulness abound, as the Livonia Public Schools Education Foundation reflects on the strong show of support at its annual luncheon fundraiser.

“It is a tribute to our community that you’ve once again filled this room,” said Diane Policelli, president of the LPS Education Foundation, addressing the approximate 225 guests in attendance at the November 14 luncheon.

Held each year at the St. Mary’s Cultural & Banquet Center, the luncheon is the major fundraiser for the Foundation’s premier program, the Competitive Edge College Savings Program.

Unique to LPS, the Competitive Edge program offers families of kindergarten students the opportunity to enroll in this free program, and the Foundation will designate them as beneficiaries of the Foundation’s education savings account.  The Foundation contributes seed money and those funds grow throughout the child’s LPS educational career. Upon graduation from LPS, the funds may be used for any post-secondary education or skills training program.

“The Foundation is committed to investing in our children’s futures, so they grow to be successful, contributing citizens,” said Policelli of the program. “With businesses, the district and the community working together, we can help our children become successful and help our community thrive.”

Since its inception in 2008, the Competitive Edge program has proudly enrolled nearly 3,000 students.

LPS parent Amy Schilbe said she is thankful that she set up an account for her now second grader, two years ago. She said that college seems far off, at this point, but she’s thankful that the Foundation prompted her family to start saving early for her son’s college education.

The luncheon, chaired by Jay Young, who is a Foundation director, and emceed by the ever-entertaining WJR Sports Director Steve Courtney , brings together many supporters from every sector of the community and always features an outstanding speaker.

This year, the community welcomed Edward J. Peper, Jr. as the keynote speaker. The U.S. Vice President for General Motors Fleet shared the secrets to success and relayed some exciting innovations that are taking shape at General Motors.

Peper grew up in neighboring Plymouth, graduated from Divine Child High School, and would often play basketball in Livonia as a youth. Longtime friend Dr. Randy Liepa, former LPS superintendent and current superintendent of Wayne County Regional Educational Services Agency, invited Peper to speak at the luncheon. The LPS Education Foundation was established during Liepa’s tenue as LPS superintendent.

Peper shared the three tenets of his success during his long career with GM: the opportunity to receive a great education; the opportunity to participate on athletic teams and remembering to always treat every person he encounters with dignity and respect.

“I’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities,” he said, adding that he draws inspiration from others, including Duke University Basketball Coach Krzyzewski, who once said, “You’ll never accomplish alone, the things you’ll accomplish with other people.”  

Peper said he has learned something from every person he has met in his life. And, he imparts the wisdom he has gained through the years onto his team at GM, reminding his colleagues that “it’s all about the team.”

Working hard, having a great attitude, working as a team member, thinking big, being bold, being fearless, taking care of self, keeping family first, giving back and never giving up are Peper’s secrets to success.

Peper said he is inspired by the innovative work that is happening at General Motors, particularly with electric and autonomous vehicles, and that he is a believer in GM’s Vision: Zero Crashes; Zero Emissions; Zero Congestion. He talked about the many initiatives that are taking place at GM to support this vision and about the inspiring, bold leadership of Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors.  

“Ed Peper’s success being rooted in a solid foundation aligns perfectly with the mission of Livonia Public Schools and the LPS Education Foundation,” said Stacy Jenkins, communications administrator for Livonia Public Schools. “Mr. Peper’s message keeps us motivated to maintain a laser-like focus on our mission to ‘educate, challenge and inspire every student to achieve personal success and become a confident contributor to society.’”

Superintendent Andrea Oquist noted that the luncheon attendance represented the strong foundations of the past, the dedicated, caring partnerships of the present and the vision of our future – with many school district retirees in attendance, in addition to current staff members and, most importantly, students from the three high schools.

“Your support helps them imagine the tremendous futures that they have ahead of them,” she said.

 

For more information about the LPS Education Foundation, visit www.lpsfoundation.org.

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Edward Peper, Jr. 

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Steve Courtney, of WJR, emcee'd the event.