Roughly 250 to 260 people gathered for the Evening for Excellence on Aug. 23 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dublin, according to Hilliard Education Foundation (HEF) President J.D. Biros.

Roughly 250 to 260 people gathered for the Evening for Excellence on Aug. 23 at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dublin, according to Hilliard Education Foundation (HEF) President J.D. Biros.

Several changes were implemented with the fundraising dinner event this year.

A video presentation featuring several grant recipients from the past two decades talked about what funds from HEF do in the classrooms and for the students and what they mean to the teachers.

"It was far better than a president's speech," Biros said.

In addition, two of the three founding members were able to be present for the event, which also involves silent and live auctions.

Former Superintendent Roger Nehls and former Treasurer Mike Watson stepped up on the stage and talked about their experiences in hosting the first dinner, getting HEF off of the ground and some of the people who have been a part of the program for multiple years.

"They kind of tag-teamed each other," Biros said, explaining that Nehls would talk for a while and then Watson would pick up where he left off.

"It was a nice touch," said Biros.

Judge Charles A. Schneider, another of the founding members, was unable to be present for the event.

Franklin County Commissioner Paula Brooks showed up for the event to present an award of recognition to mark the district's achievement in obtaining an "Excellence With Distinction" ranking on the State Local Report Card.

Biros said they got a call Friday evening saying the commissioner would be present.

As of Monday, he was unsure how much money the fundraising activity collected.

"I think we grossed $60,000, but I haven't seen the net," said Biros.

Once the bills are paid, Biros said, he would be surprised if they made as much money as last year.

Last year the HEF committee netted a record $45,000.

During the recognition portion of the event, Kathy Parker-Jones, a technology integration specialist in the district, was presented with the School Star for her work with third- and fourth-grade students.

Rita Trimble received the Foundation Star as one of the early members.

Biros said Trimble has been involved in the Evening for Excellence, the spelling bee, Advocate, Collaborate, Teach (ACT) for Schools and chaired school levies.

"She and her husband, Tom, have always been big supporters," he said.

The Community Star was given to Advanced Drainage System (ADS).

"ADS is a quiet neighbor," said Biros. "It is one of the largest producers of drainage piping."

The ADS Web site describes it as the world's largest manufacturer of polyethylene pipe.

Biros said the company has partnered with the foundation and been a big supporter of the education system.

For the first time this year an after party was held once the dinner and auctions came to a conclusion. Biros said it was a lot of fun and they are talking about holding it again next year.