Jacksonville Education Foundation honors "Stars" at annual banquet

The Jacksonville Education Foundation hosted the sixth annual “Evening With Our Stars” event on August 10, 2017 at the Legacy in Jacksonville. JEF proudly honored the “Stars” for this year’s event, Sara Sheffield and Senator Robert Nichols. Each are JHS alum.

Sara Sheffield, a mezzo-soprano, is a proud native of Jacksonville, Texas. Sara graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1997 and represented JHS in the Texas All-State Choir for three years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of North Texas.

In 2005, Sara joined “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, becoming the first featured female vocal soloist in the Marine Band’s 218-year history. She often supports the musical needs of the White House, and as soloist and concert moderator, performs regularly in the Washington area and across the country during the band’s annual concert tour. She has sung for all of the nation’s living presidents, as well as the funerals of Presidents Reagan and Ford. Sara participated in the January Presidential Inauguration ceremonies and parade. She was recently spotlighted in the media as the lone figure standing with the First Family on the White House balcony as she sang the National Anthem to begin the traditional Easter Egg Hunt at the White House.


Senator Robert Nichols

Senator Robert Nichols has been a force in the Jacksonville community since his days at Jacksonville High School. Nichols is a businessman, inventor, visionary and 1963 graduate of JHS. Before he served the State of Texas, he served his hometown of Jacksonville by serving on city council, was elected mayor, built four successful manufacturing facilities, earned 32 U.S. patents, 128 foreign patents, and created more than 900 jobs for East Texas families.

Although much of his time now is required in Austin, he still calls Jacksonville home.

First elected to the Texas Senate in 2006, Robert Nichols represents 19 counties, including the greater part of East Texas and Montgomery County.

In the Texas Senate, Nichols serves as Chairman of the Transportation Committee. He also serves on the Senate Finance, Business and Commerce, and Administration Committees. He is a member of the Legislative Audit Committee and is currently serving his second term as a member on the Sunset Advisory Committee.

During his five sessions as a state senator, Nichols authored and passed legislation to protect landowners’ rights, increase educational opportunities in East Texas and reform transportation policies. He has worked to reduce Medicaid fraud, and promote free-market principles. During his first term with the Sunset Advisory Committee, he was able to help eliminate six state agencies which saved the taxpayers $161.9 million. He has been named a ‘Champion for Children’ by the Equity Center, a ‘Courageous Conservative’ by the Texas Conservative Coalition, a ‘Friend of County Government’ by the Texas Association of Counties and a ‘Champion of Free Enterprise’ by the Texas Association of Business.


All proceeds from the Education Foundation benefit the staff and students of Jacksonville ISD through Classroom Grants, student scholarships and teacher incentives.

During the program, the tradition of surprising guests by announcing the Influential Indian Awards was again a highlight of the evening. To name an Influential Indian, a donation of a $1,000 minimum is made to the Foundation in their name. This distinguished honor was awarded to a record number this year and included;

Mr. Brad Stewart by Co-workers, friends, and the Lions Club

Ms. Mary Peacock by Nick & Kelley Peacock

Ben Peacock by Nick & Kelley Peacock and Randy & Mary Claudia Swanson

Mr. Jimmy Hines by Kiepersol Winery

Mrs. Lisa Cox by Co-workers and Friends

Sara Sheffield by the Jacksonville Education Foundation Board

Coach Dick Sheffield by Eddie Arrington & Martin Swanson and the senior players of 1970

Coach Gene Bates by Eddie Arrington & Martin Swanson and the senior players of 1970

Coach Connie Irby by Eddie Arrington & Martin Swanson and the senior players of 1970

Micah Hoffpauir by Ballard, Terry, and Hoffpauir families and his Sunday School Class

Janis Adams by Austin Bank

Jeff Austin, III by Austin Bank

Janice Stone by Dick Stone

Kiwanis Club of Jacksonville by Kiwanis Club members

Suzi Rose by Val Rose

Dr. and Mrs. Charles Creed by Brad & Kathy Creed

Mike Pope by Lindy Finley

James Houser by Lindy Finley


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