Alma Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon set for July 25 at the First Baptist Church will honor the city’s educators and school staff.

This is the second year for the luncheon, which is organized by the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce. This year, attendees will be honoring and praying over Alma schools, said Brian Huff, Alma Area Chamber of Commerce director.

“We chose this theme because of the impact that teachers have on the future and the impact they have on developing the character of individuals as they grow,” Huff said. “Alma’s future leaders in business and economic development start in the classrooms of our schools.”

Alma School District and Stepping Stone School teachers, administrators and school staff are invited to the event and will receive free admittance with a ticket that they can pick up at the office of the school where they work, Huff said.

“We want to also make sure we’re honoring the custodians and secretaries and all those who contribute to education and maintaining school systems,” Huff said.

Tickets for other attendees are $15 each, Huff said. Table sponsorships are not being offered, Huff said.

Alma’s luncheon will be a casual event catered by the First Baptist Church of Alma where it is being held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Benny Gooden, Arkansas Colleges of Health Education executive director of institutional relations, will be the keynote speaker at the event.

Gooden retired as superintendent of schools in Fort Smith after 30 years and has served in public education for 50 years as a teacher, building administrator, central office administrator and for 41 years as a school superintendent.

Gooden’s first job in education was at Alma School District as a music teacher.

Besides serving on numerous committees and receiving multiple awards for his service to Arkansas communities, Gooden has been involved with legislative issues affecting public education at the state and national levels for many years and is a frequent lecturer on educational leadership issues dealing with legislation, governance and finance.

Last year’s luncheon, honored law enforcement officers and emergency responders, was “overwhelmingly successful,” Huff said.

“We have been looking forward to this year’s prayer luncheon and hope it becomes a cherished Alma tradition,” Huff said.