The Wylie Bulldogs Education Foundation had a lot of fun with its annual “We are Wylie” Dinner this year.
In honor of guest speaker Jerri Stephenson, a NASA scientist and Wylie alum, the foundation chose a Star Wars theme, complete with costumes and Star Wars music.
“It seemed like the fun and creative nature of the “Star Wars Dinner” created a bit of festivity,” foundation president Becky Rentz said. “We had many first time attendees and some new table sponsors as well as some dinner guests and greeters dressed in costume!”
Darth Vader was there, along with several other characters from the popular movies. Dinner guests enjoyed a meal from Copper Creek, heard Star Wars music from the Wylie Jazz Band and laughed as Stephenson told what really happens at NASA.
Stephenson said she owes a great deal of her success to Wylie. She was only 2-years-old when her parents both went to prison for drugs and alcohol, and her grandparents became her caretakers. Her grandmother died when she was 11, and her grandfather drove a Wylie bus to support her.
She remembers having to get herself up, dressed and to the bus each morning.
“There’s a point in your life where you can say it’s never going to get any better,” she said. “I made a decision that I was not going to settle for that existence.”
Stephenson called out former teacher Bruce Amdal during her speech.
“You just told me one time that I was a good kid and that stuck with me,” she said.
Stephenson now creates and tests technology that astronaunts will use in space. She said she was honored to return to Wylie to help raise funds for the schools.
“Everyone is so nice and so caring,” she said. “You just don’t get that in Houston. Someone at some point in my life believed in me, and they told me so. The success I had is a direct result of the Wylie community.”