Grandparents lead teacher adoption effort for supply help

Published 3:06 am Saturday, September 10, 2016

Chris and Donna Lawrence were among the approximately 1,000 people who visited Andalusia Elementary School for Grandparents Day celebrations yesterday.

Chris and Donna Lawrence with their grandson, Chris, a second grader, at AES’s grandparents day yesterday. Courtesy photo

Chris and Donna Lawrence with their grandson, Chris, a second grader, at AES’s grandparents day yesterday.
Courtesy photo

But they’ve been busy supporting the school since the new year began.

Each year, teachers get an allocation with which to purchase school supplies. There are guidelines for the ways in which the money can be spent. In general, it is far less than teachers need to buy extras for their classrooms, and many purchase additional supplies out-of-pocket.

Mrs. Lawrence said because she and her husband have many teachers who are customers at Christopher’s, they were aware of this.

“So my grandson – whatever teacher he has – I always go and buy the optional things on the supply list, like copy paper, paper towels and other items. I always let his teacher know that if she needs me, I’m there.

“I have more freedom in my work hours than some others do, so I try to help out,” she said.

But this year, instead of just helping young Chris’s second grade teacher, Ragan Harwell, the couple decided to help all second grade teachers.

“We decided to give each of them $100 for their instructional material fund,” she said. “So we made a $700 donation, and each teacher got $100 into their account. To me, $100 is not a lot, but it’s $100 more than they were used to getting.”

After several teachers in other grade levels commented, “Oh, I wish your child was in my class,” Mrs. Lawrence said she and her husband decided to issue a challenge to other businesses and individuals. A little more than a month into the school year, she said she is overwhelmed at the positive response.

Actually, today we adopted our very last class – the collaborative teachers,” she said Friday afternoon. “There were seven of those.”

Mrs. Lawrence said she felt the project was important because the elementary grades don’t get as much outside, community support as the high school does.

Others who supported the effort include Steve and Harriet Hubbard, Pre-K; Todd and Anna Pate (Covington Heavy Duty), kindergarten; Jeffery Douglas (Mr. Mattress), first grade; John and Faye Vick, third grade; Lorrie and Rhett Enzor (Tropical Smoothie and Little Ceasar’s), fourth grade; Tavia Tillman (Mallette Drug), fifth grade; Daphne Mohon (Town and Country), sixth grade; Andalusia Health, art classes for all grades; and Allen Walker (Walker Business Supply), collaborate classes.

“I’m thrilled for that much response in this amount of time,” Mrs. Lawrence said. “Of course, we knew there are wonderful, giving people in Andalusia. But I didn’t think we’d get it done this month, this quickly.”

Mrs. Lawrence said that those interested may still contribute, and may designate their contribution to a specific teacher or to a grade level. State ethics laws require that the checks be made to the school system.

AES principal Alane Brunson expressed the school’s appreciation for the support.

“We are overwhelmed with the generosity and support of the individuals and businesses that partnered with AES to make this the best school year ever,” Mrs. Brunson said. “These funds will provide enrichment opportunities and additional support to students. It’s wonderful to live in a place where educational programs are valued so deeply. We would like to extend a special thanks to Donna Lawrence and Christopher’s Jewelry for coordinating this effort with the business community. “