By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: August 14, 2019 | 9:23 a.m.
School leaders humbled by massive donation support from community
DINWIDDIE – The sun is starting to set just a tick earlier and earlier everyday and Labor Day is quickly approaching, two signs for local students that classes are set to resume for Dinwiddie County Public School students in only a few weeks time.
While some may pine for a few more days of vacation, school leaders hope to get students excited for the 2019-2020 school year with a pair of special events aimed at getting the upcoming year off on the right foot.
On Wednesday, August 14, Sunnyside Elementary School in McKenney serves as the host of first of two special Back2School Bash events, followed by a second event the following day on August 15 at Southside Elementary School. Running from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day and open to all students and families who attend the county’s schools, Dinwiddie County Public Schools’ Director of School and Community Relations Christie Clarke said the events will be as fun as they are informative.
“At these events, we plan to have food, fun, school supplies, share information, and enjoy community fellowship,” she detailed. “We are inviting our local and community agencies to be on hand to share their available resources and services and to answer questions that parents and students may have as the school year begins.”
The Back2School Bash is a first for Dinwiddie County Public Schools and one of the flagship elements of the event is a supplies distribution set to take place at both Southside and Sunnyside Elementary School. Throughout the month of July, the school division reached out to the community seeking back-to-school essentials for local students, such as crayons, notebooks, backpacks, and a host of other items students from elementary through high school use throughout the course of a school year.
Volunteers couldn’t help but break out smiles as they gave their time to help organize and package notebooks, pencils, and other donated supplies ahead of their Back2School Bash events this week. (DCPS)
Last week, staff and volunteers came together to help package up supplies ahead of this week’s distribution and, according to Clarke, supplies were being donated even after the July 31 deadline.
“We had a big response,” she shared. “I am still getting carloads of supplies. I had just picked up a carload last night and another carload came in last week. We received several large donations from businesses,” noting some local businesses even put out collection boxes at their shops to help out.
“One of the boxes came back with a flier inside and they had made a contest where if a donation was made, they were having a drawing for something,” she shared. “Businesses promoted it on social media for us and it wasn’t just supplies, donations were made as people came to help us do the bags or others are helping at the event.”
For Superintendent Dr. Kari Weston, the overwhelming response from the community to the school division’s efforts to support students ahead of the first day of classes serves as an example of a commonly heard statement she shares, that there is no better place to live, work, learn, or serve than Dinwiddie County.
“I feel like that is when you know you are getting something right, when there is a need in this community, people show up and they give up their time and their resources,” she said. “For me, certainly we have a number of smaller agencies that have collected supplies and have been supportive of our students, the supplies initiative has really grown into something unbelievable.”
Weston continued, “To take one small thing off the plates of parents and teachers to make sure students have paper, pencils, and notebooks, that’s amazing. I think the beauty of the response that we have seen is, not only are we going to be able to provide supplies on the front-end, we will have supplies left over so mid-year when you need to replenish, we will be able to do that as well.”
The generosity of the Dinwiddie community was on full display last week as school division staff and volunteers sorted donated supplies. DCPS spokesperson Christie Clarke said carloads of supplies were donated even after their collection ended in July, helping to support local students and schools. (DCPS)
While this initiative is a first for the school division, DCPS’ successful partnership with the county’s faith-based community continues to bear fruit as the consortium of religious leaders prepare for their annual school supplies distribution for Dinwiddie’s kindergarten and preschool students.
“The purpose of that is to create a level playing field so when preschool and kindergartners are coming to school, it is not about who has what, it is about how we all have the same thing and we are all starting on a level playing field,” Weston said.
According to the superintendent, Pre-K and kindergarten students will receive their supplies as part of the faith-based community’s distribution during open house events at their schools.
For more information on the upcoming Back2School Bash events and the Pre-K and kindergarten supply distributions, contact the school division or visit their website http://dinwiddie.k12.va.us.
The first day of school for Dinwiddie’s young men and women is slated for September 3.