WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Every year Partners in Education, also known as PIE, recognizes the outstanding partners and mentors who have gone above and beyond on school campuses in our community, and the 2021-2022 winners were honored at the 33rd Annual Appreciation Dinner.

Keeping children at the center, that’s the mission of our local PIE organization, and coordinator January Cadotte says having so many great mentors and groups be a part of this, makes accomplishing that mission possible.

“These PIE partners and volunteers and mentors, they do so much for our campuses and this is a night to be able to celebrate them and tell them thank you and show off all their hard work and it doesn’t go unnoticed,” Cadotte said.

Partners and organizations receive a special honor for the impactful work they do with local students, work that this year’s Partner of the Year, Western Hills Baptist Church, does all too well.

“We have a good news club that we even do for Fowler. I’m a part of the Kirby program where they do lunch mentorships and then I pick up at Rider on Wednesdays. So we’re in four different schools. We’re just going and going trying to do everything that we can,” Western Hills Baptist Church’s Garrett Smith said.

Cadotte says the relationships that these mentors form with students goes beyond school walls and can last a lifetime.

“These kids, sometimes, they may not have somebody who spends that extra time with them to read or to do homework, and our mentors play such a huge role in that,” Cadotte said.

Smith says it was a surprise hearing that they’d won Partner of the Year, but it feels great to be recognized.

“It feels amazing and we were just talking about how we’ve been nominated for lots of years and it’s finally awesome to actually win it and I’m so happy it’s a lot of work,” Smith said.

Contributions and relationships that are life-changing.

“It’s been going on for 33 years. We want to just keep it going, keep it growing. We are filling a ton of needs but there are still so many more needs that need to be filled,” Cadotte said.

And will continue to be needed in our community.

The full list of all of the individuals and organizations honored at this year’s dinner can be found here: