Critically acclaimed by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Grammy-award winner and Williamsport Area High School alumnus Dashon Burton returned on Nov. 12, 2014, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation.
    A fundraiser benefit concert featuring the award-winning, bass-baritone singer with the WAHS orchestra and choir was held at the Community Arts Center.
    "We were excited to not only celebrate the foundation's 10th anniversary but also showcase the exceptional talent of our students and one of Williamsport's alumni with Dashon," said Greg Hayes, director of the WASD Education Foundation. "We were also thrilled to partner with the Community Arts Center, and extremely appreciative and thankful for their donation of the facility to use for this event."
    Burton, a 2000 WAHS graduate, won a Grammy award last January as a member of the eight-person vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth for best chamber music/small ensemble performance.
    "I'm honored and really grateful to all the faculty and staff at WAHS for what they did for me, and am looking forward to supporting this most worthy cause," Burton said at the time. "I absolutely would not be where I am today without my education. The eternal support of the community at WAHS gave me the courage and confidence to become what I wanted to be, and I couldn't be happier about coming back and sharing time with old and new friends alike."
    WASDEF was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2004 when it was created by then-district Business Administrator Charles Peterson and Superintendent Patricia Lowery. It was then the district joined the movement in establishing an independent organization led by a volunteer board to help foster the growth and programs of the district by raising private funds.
    Over the last decade, it has grown in its mission in supporting students and faculty across the district by "securing resources, enriching education" by having generated more than $1.7 million in assets and allocating about $100,000 a year to projects, programs and scholarships.
    The foundation launched its burgeoning sister organization, the WASD Alumni Association, in the spring of 2012, and is in the heart of its latest effort to restore the athletic complex at the high school through its Return to Glory capital campaign, for which it has raised more than $2.2 million in donations and commitments over the last year.
    The event celebrated the many accomplishments of the foundation and to promote the programs and projects its helped support, among them the recent completion of the new Mary Lindsay Welch Orchestra Studio at the high school, for which it received an anonymous $100,000 gift to fund its renovation.