Backpack Bonanza!

Twenty-five masked and eager faces waited in the library and learning center of Daisy Bates Elementary School on Wednesday, July 27, as CALS employee, Courtney Jones, explained which backpacks were for which grades. This group of students comes from the 385 students who attend Bates Elementary and are part of the Little Scholars after-school program. This year was the first time Little Scholars students were on campus during the summer months.

“We’ve received lots of support as we’ve explored the best options for serving this community through Millie Brooks Library,” said Jones. “The grant we received to help with the clothing closet also enabled us to provide the backpacks. I’m glad we were able to do this for them.”

CALS, in conjunction with Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, donated backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. Additionally, each child grabbed a package of loose-leaf notebook paper and chose a leisure book to read. One third grader showed off her turquoise pencil case filled with pencils, pens, scissors, and glue sticks as she said to no one in particular, “I love this color!”

“We appreciate CALS and the Wingate Fund contributions and dedication to these students,” Principal Masako Christian said. “These supplies are going to be a blessing to them and their families.”

As all the students received identical black mesh backpacks; they took a moment to make customized name tags so they could tell them apart.

As the event was wrapping up and the students were admiring their new supplies, Courtney added a few words of advice, “Sometimes it’s scary moving to a new thing and going into a new grade. I remember that I would be so scared sometimes for a whole week, but that second week, it was better. And it just kept getting better.” She wrapped up by offering students who would no longer be in the program her business card and said they could call her anytime. She also reminded them that CALS offers tutoring through Count UP if anyone finds themselves needing a little extra help.