El Vista Elementary School Principal Marilyn Rockey was crushed when funding for the wind instruments program at her campus was eliminated over the summer.
Soon after, she learned about an opportunity for the program to become a partner with the Modesto Symphony Orchestra Association. Now, El Vista students continue performing at school and can attend the symphony in the evenings.
"It's enamored our students with music," Rockey said.
She and several other school officials thanked business and community leaders at a Thursday luncheon for donating time and money to classrooms across Stanislaus County.
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Such partnerships are especially needed during today's recession, educators said.
Other community partnerships recognized Thursday:
Modesto's Church of the Brethren adopted 60 families at Martone Elementary School in December to provide items for Christmas celebrations. Church members also helped the school's Parent-Teacher Association offer movie nights.
Burbank Elementary Principal Pam Corbett thanked Costco for supplying backpacks for the school's needy students and offering prizes for perfect attendance each month.
"When they're here, we can teach them," Corbett said about her students. "And you bet we noticed a spike in attendance and test scores."
Sunrise Rotary members volunteer every Thursday at Bret Harte Elementary School. They mentor students and bring snacks.
"There's not a student who doesn't truly enjoy it, and others are asking how they can get in," Principal Ruth Flores said.
Students at Whitmore charter schools in Ceres have benefited from the efforts of mom Jennifer Rushman. She and the school's booster club have raised $40,000 in two years to put a playground on campus.
American Chevrolet's Jim Halvorson was singled out for holding a car dealership simulation at Beyer High School that showed students what it takes to operate a business.
The Thursday luncheon is an annual event sponsored by the Stanislaus Partners in Education, an organization that fosters connections between schools and businesses.
Kaiser Permanente was honored as a countywide partner for its donations to the Stanislaus County Office of Education's Fit for the Future last school year and this year.
Memorial Medical Center received SPIE's presidential award for its nearly 40 partnerships with schools, colleges, universities and technical schools. Last year, 400 high school students shadowed workers at Memorial and 700 more toured the hospital.
Ron Emerzian was given the Peter Johansen Award for his contributions to schools and the community. The retired E.&J. Gallo Winery executive said he is glad to be part of a community that "works together to better young people's lives."