Southwest Early Childhood Center on Tuesday marked a private contribution that allows for a larger class of preschool students to be able to graduate.
The Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation partnered with Southwest to create and hang a plaque outside the John A. Morris classroom — a classroom for 15 Title I students created for the 2017-18 school year and made possible by the largest gift to date received by the foundation.
The Morris family agreed to give $90,000 a year for an undisclosed number of years to support the classroom. The announcement was made in August.
The family's funding pays for a full-time teacher with early childhood and early childhood special education teaching certification, a classroom aide and supplies. Title I students are from low-income families.
The classroom operates all day, Monday through Friday.
A total of 180 Title I students graduated from Southwest this school year, JCPS Foundation Executive Director Karen Enloe said.
Three groups of Nichols Career Center students — building trades, welding and mechatronics — worked together to create the plaque, Enloe said.
John A. Morris died in February 2017 at age 90. He was the senior vice president of Central Bank, where he worked for 37 years. Recognized on the new plaque as "a lifelong learner and an advocate for early education," Morris served two terms on the JCPS Board of Education and was elected twice as president.