West graduating seniors benefit from fund-raiser. Listeners of KCBI 90.9 FM, a North Texas Christian radio station, met a $65,000 giving goal for the “Loving West: Class of 2014” campaign. Their gifts meant each of the 65 participating seniors in the 2014 graduating class of West High School receives $1,000. KCBI worked in partnership with the West Independent School District and First Baptist Church of West in the campaign. Since the fertilizer plant explosion that devastated West on April 17, 2013, students at West High School have commuted to neighboring Connally ISD for classes in portable buildings. West High School’s building was condemned due to damage from the blast and torn down. Many families continue to rebuild their homes and lives after the disaster. So, KCBI worked with the church and school district to establish a sponsorship program for the graduating seniors to provide them with money for laptop computers or other school supplies as they begin college. Former Oakland Raiders receiver Tim Brown will headline a celebration of “Loving West: Class of 2014” for the seniors and their families at First Baptist Church in West June 2. Josh Havens and Matt Fuqua of the Christian pop/rock band The Afters will perform.
ETBU trustees OK increased budget. East Texas Baptist University’s board of trustees approved a $37.3 million operating budget for the 2014-2015 academic year, a 9.3 percent increase over the current year’s budget. The budget, which takes effect June 1, includes more than $9.927 million for student scholarships, an increase of 12 percent over the current budget. Trustees also approved a new graduate program leading toward the master of arts in Christian ministry degree. The degree program offers students focused on vocational church-related ministerial service the opportunity pursue graduate education in business, counseling, education or another discipline outside the religion department. Trustees also approved an English-as-a-Second-Language program for international students who meet all admission requirements to the university except for language proficiency. The program will provide the resources to help students improve language skills in reading and vocabulary, writing, grammar, listening and speaking.