Students in Pasadena, Texas Help Fund The Patriot Papers
When the National Portrait Gallery announced in the fall of 2000 that it needed $20 million to keep the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, the children of the Pasadena Independent School District decided to do something about it. They wanted to save George from the auction block.
They developed the By George, We've Got It, Help Us Keep It campaign to raise funds for the famous Gilbert Stuart painting. The school district set a goal of $42,600one dollar for every student in PISDand the children raised an inspiring $4,200 before the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation donated the needed $20 million. The monies raised by Pasadena students helped to fund The Patriot Papers.
As a Texas Recognized District for outstanding student achievement, the Pasadena District has been involved in local fundraising projects before. They contributed to the saving of the Alamo, the San Jacinto Monument, and the renovation of the battleship Texas. The Lansdowne, portrait like these other American treasures, is one that the children of Pasadena hoped to save.
Although most of the children had never seen the Lansdowne portrait in person, their enthusiasm for saving the national treasure was high. District spokesman Kirk Lewis also saw great potential in the project: This is a teachable moment in terms of our national art history and national American history. Its a great way to energize our kids to learn about our country.
The By George campaign began as a local project, but gained national attention with its call to raise money. The school district challenged other school districts in the area to join the campaign. Ultimately, the Pasadena fundraisers hoped to relay the challenge across the nation. Fortunately for all Americans, the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation contributed the needed funds in March 2001.
Just as George Washington sacrificed his time and energy for the good of the nation, so too have the children of the Pasadena Independent School District. They have shown the country that national spirit is alive in our nations youth. The National Portrait Gallery thanks those in Pasadena who contributed to the Lansdowne portrait campaign. We also encourage all Americans to continue the spirit of giving in their own communities, school districts, and neighborhoods by joining our current campaign Pledge It Forward-Self to Service. Take your lead from Pasadena and take time to make a difference.