Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SUPPLY FOCUS REBUILD: Support Rebuilding Joplin Schools

The first day of school means different things to different people. An elementary school student is probably very excited: she can't wait to be one grade older and show off  her new lunchbox and bookbag to all the friends she hasn't seen all summer. (If said lunchbox and bookbag are of The Little Mermaid variety, this little girl is very awesome and you should want to be her friend, forever. You should also give her whatever seat she wants on the bus. Trust me, she's cool.)

Throughout elementary school, my first day of school followed a specific routine. Wake up. Have breakfast. Put on school uniform and brand-new school shoes. Get yelled at by Mom because you're taking too long to get ready. Take a picture with brothers in front of the front door. Walk up to the bus stop. Apologize to Dad because you forgot your lunch or gym clothes and he has to go back to the house to get them. Take a picture with Ashley and other assorted neighborhood kids in front of the Ashley's tree. Get on bus. Insist on sitting in the middle of Ashley and Jenny B in a three seater, regardless of what order you actually get on the bus. Rinse and repeat for the next 12 or so years. (I still always sit in the middle.)

August 17th marked the first day of school for the kids in Joplin, Missouri schools. This year, the excitement for the first day of school will be the same if not heightened, but the routine is going to be different. Joplin high school students will attend classes in a renovated department store in the local North Park Mall.  School officials expect to call North Park Mall the high school's home for the next three years.

 I think you will observe in the photos below, dear readers, the effect the May 22nd tornado had not only on every day life for this community but on the first day of school for more than 7000 students in Joplin.

This spring, the community of South Brunswick , NJ organized a district-wide school supply collection for the students and teachers in Joplin, MO. Imagine an average size kitchen counter. Cover it in spiral notebooks, Ziploc bags of crayons, three-ring binders, folders, art supplies, math manipulatives, stacks of lined paper, and other school supplies. Multiply this by six. Box it all up. This is what we have for Joplin. What we don't have are the funds to send these supplies to the students and teachers who need them.

Jane gets an award for the fastest and most efficient packer ever. Kathy gets an award for not putting me in a box after leaving these supplies in her classroom ALL SUMMER LONG. I get an award for taking yet another picture where it doesn't look like I'm wearing shorts.

The GOAT gets an award for...can the Greatest Of All Time get an award? He did it all: drove around SB with me to pick up supplies, carried things far too heavy for him to lift, labeled boxes in his cryptic shorthand, and more...all with a smile.
 South Brunswick students, teachers, and families worked incredibly hard to show Joplin their support. To only be able to send a box or two of the 35 or so collected of these much needed supplies to Missouri  would be an unfair representation of the understanding and support SB schools and families have for Joplin school district.

In the next few days, my sissy-in-law is working on setting up a pay-pal site to collect donations to cover the cost of shipping the school supplies to Joplin. More information to come, but in the meantime, think about your first day of school. When I think about mine in comparison to the experience of the students in JoMo, I'm pretty sure these kids were just as, if not more, excited than I was to start a new school year. Unfortunately, judging from the images above, taken only a month ago during the week of B&K's wedding, the background in the first day of school pictures for Joplin students was also very different from mine.