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Gesture of ‘Goodwill’

MURFREESBORO – Though students stock up on supplies at the beginning of each school year, they often need more after a few months to continue until their final exams. But thanks to Goodwill Industries of Eastern North Carolina (GIENC), over 1,700 students of Hertford County Schools now have more supplies to use for the rest of this year.

Representatives from the organization, which is an affiliate of Goodwill Industries International, visited several schools in the district on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and Thursday, Feb. 27 to pass out supply kits to students from Kindergarten through 8th grade. Their first stop was Hertford County Middle School.

Students of Hertford County Middle School proudly display their new school supply kits. They learned of the surprise gifts at a special assembly on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

“Today is all about you, the students,” said GIENC representative Kathy Roadcup as she addressed the young teens. “We believe in your potential. We believe in your community. We really believe in your academic success.”

The students cheered when learning of the good news, and they happily posed for pictures with their own supply kit after all were passed around.

Since 2011, GIENC has given away school supply kits twice a year to various school districts in eastern North Carolina. The kits are assembled at the GCF Volunteer Center in Durham, giving local communities a way to engage in meaningful volunteerism.

It only costs about $5 per kit to purchase the necessary supplies. The kits include items such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, erasers, composition notebooks, hand sanitizer, scissors, and earbuds. Some contents of the kits are different depending on the age of the students receiving it.

The donation to the Hertford County school district is worth a total of $26,432.80.

“We are so excited about this generous donation to our students,” said Brunet Parker, who serves as the district’s Public Information Officer. “This is a critical time of the year when resources are low and the pressure on the students to succeed is higher due to end of grade testing.”

Parker added she appreciated that the program didn’t single out any student in particular, but provided supplies to everyone regardless of their economic status.

When speaking to the students on Wednesday, Hertford County School Superintendent Dr. William Wright emphasized that the donation is a gift they greatly deserved simply for being themselves.

“The children seemed to be very appreciative of it,” Dr. Wright told the News Herald after the middle school presentation. “It’s so uplifting. It’s just a blessing to our students and their families.”

Kathy Roadcup (left), along with colleagues from GIENC, encourages young students to strive for academic success during her organization’s visit on Wednesday to Hertford County Middle School. Staff Photo by Holly Taylor

The superintendent happened to be the person who helped connect GIENC to Hertford County Schools. He attended a meeting of the Northeastern Regional Education Service Alliance last year, and they were presented information about the GIENC School Supply Kit program. GIENC had recently presented kits to the Edenton-Chowan school district, and Dr. Wright asked if Hertford County could receive the same thing.

He admitted he wasn’t expecting they would be willing to do it, so he was pleasantly surprised when they said yes.

“I’m glad I was there that day and simply asked a question,” Dr. Wright said. “This is all in conjunction with our ‘all in for learning’ concept in the district, and we’re very excited.”

GIENC President Christopher Hash said in a statement about the program, “This is a demonstration of the GIENC mission to provide opportunities for a better life through supporting the academic success of children in eastern North Carolina, especially those living at or near poverty.”

“Not only does this resource provide financial relief, but it also saves parents the time and transportation costs associated with purchasing these items,” he continued.

Hash added that the assemblies where students receive the kits are a vital part of the program as well.

“During these assemblies, we’re able to deliver the supplies directly to the students while celebrating them and the importance of education to their lives,” he concluded.

GIENC representatives visited Hertford County Middle, Riverview Elementary, Ahoskie Elementary, and Bearfield Primary in order to ensure each child received their kit.