On September 5th, the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) donated school supplies to local Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia to help their neighbors kick off the new school year. CLA’s School Supply Drive raised a large number of essential supplies for the underfunded public school. The mood was festive as teachers mingled with CLA staff who organized the drive, which is intended to become an annual effort.
Signs and notices for the School Supply Drive were posted all around campus and donations poured in over the weeks preceding the start of the school year. Last Friday, the culmination of that effort paid off when representatives from CLA and the CLA Alumni Association delivered the supplies to Duckrey students and teachers.
The supplies were distributed in the school’s cafeteria, where teachers and students lined up to “shop” for classroom supplies. Teachers perused through the donations and snatched up everything they needed.
“The school district gives us $100 a year (for classroom supplies),” said one science and math teacher, “and that always goes fast.” He added “it usually lasts a couple months.” After that money runs out, teachers have to begin buying classroom supplies themselves. Another 3rd grade teacher “easily spent over $1,000 on supplies last year, but now this doesn’t come out of our pockets. I don’t have a family yet, but most of my colleagues do and this saves us money and planning time.”
The excitement among teachers was palpable. “This is what it looks like when teachers win the lottery! Thank you so much!” said a first-year teacher. “They gave me an empty classroom, but it’s not empty anymore! Thank you so much!”
CLA Alumni Association member Kristin Grubb helped organize the drive from her position as manager of operations in the Office of the Provost. Photo by Betsy Manning.
Principal David Cohen echoed the gratitude expressed by the teachers and students. “I can’t explain how helpful it truly is. We now have all the stuff you’d assume schools would have, regular stuff like paper and pencils that just get cut out of the budget.”
Principal Cohen described the excitement perfectly. “Did you ever see National Geographic, with the lions feeding, and then it’s gone like that!” he says while snapping his fingers. “That’s what it’s like, gone in a flash.
The Supply Drive marks the start of a partnership between The College of Liberal Arts and Tanner Duckrey Elementary. The annual drive aims to expand and provide more to the elementary school through donations by Temple Alumni, students, faculty, and local neighborhood contributions.
Students arrived at Duckrey the following Monday, prepared for their first day of school. “Learning is the biggest thing going on here,” says Principal David Cohen. In large part thanks to the CLA School Supply Drive, students and teachers can spend less energy worrying and more time learning.
Teachers “shop” for supplies at Tanner Duckrey. Photo by Betsy Manning.