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Niswonger Foundation Contributes to Sullivan North High School

From Technology to Music, Foundation Responds to Educational Needs


The Niswonger Foundation is working to address both a curricular and extra-curricular need at Sullivan North High School, in Kingsport. 


Disaster struck the Sullivan North High School band program when water from a fire sprinkler malfunction did nearly $30,000 in damage to musical instruments, supplies and equipment last November.  Students and staff members worked in standing water to salvage as much of the program as possible. With hopes that insurance would help with the rest of the recovery, it was learned that a $50,000 deductible left the future of the band in jeopardy.  The Sullivan North band has been in the process of rebuilding. In the past two years, the program has more than doubled in size. 


Sherry Gillum, SNHS director of bands and choirs, stated “The band program is an avenue whereby students who are not involved in sports or other school-funded activities have the opportunity to experience something they are passionate about.  The opportunity to perform in an energetic environment makes an intense impression on young people.” 


Sam Brashears, Niswonger Scholar and 2013 graduate of Sullivan North High School, did the honors of presenting a check from the Niswonger Foundation to Principal Brent Palmer and Director Gillum. The $5000 check will be used to jumpstart the efforts to rebuild the music program.  Brashears is a freshman, premedical student at Wake Forest University.  Members of the SNHS band joined for the presentation as Brashears shared what it had meant to him to be part of the band program. 


During the presentation, Niswonger Foundation Executive Vice President, Dr. Nancy Dishner stated “It is our hope that our Foundation’s contribution will raise community awareness to this need, and that other organizations and businesses will join us in equipping the Sullivan North band program even better than before this disaster.” 


Dishner shared with the band members about the vision of Scott Niswonger, the Foundation’s President and Founder.  She stated: “His motto of learn, earn and return should be a reminder to all of us that we have a responsibility to serve our community.” She encouraged the band members to look for opportunities to be of service.


While visiting the school, Niswonger Foundation representatives were also able to observe their latest technology purchases for Sullivan North. Currently, over $42,000 in technology to support distance learning, including a mobile technology unit, has been provided through the Niswonger Foundation i3 grant.  Principal Brent Palmer stated “It is remarkable to see the amount of support that has been provided to our school by the Niswonger Foundation.” 

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