Our Opinion: Class supply drive equips teachers to help students shine

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Ask teachers what they need to educate Wilson County’s children, and you’ll be struck by how humble many of the requests might seem.

“I need some printer ink for my printer,” writes a Jones Elementary kindergarten teacher. “I found some on eBay for a reasonable price.”

“We would love to have new or gently used children’s books for our library as well as classroom libraries,” a kindergarten teacher at Wells Elementary writes.

“We really need some hockey sticks for PE,” a Springfield Middle School teacher chimes in.

A first-grade teacher at Vinson-Bynum Elementary suggests individual dry-erase boards — they’re $30 for a dozen.

“I would love to have two sets to allow each student to have their own, but would be grateful for at least one pack of 12, which would allow for partner work,” the teacher wrote.

Those are just a sample of the 338 class wish lists shared with Brewmasters for its fourth annual Adopt-A-Classroom donation drive, which kicked into high gear this week with a four-day fundraising blitz.

The restaurant, pub and craft beer shop on Forest Hills Road hopes to fund as many of these requests as possible to ensure our educators have the right tools to help their students grasp grade-level concepts, master course material and chart their individual paths to scholastic success.

“School funding continues to be a problem and there continues to be huge needs in our local schools for basic and out-of-the-box things for teachers to have in their classrooms,” said Molly Youssef, who owns Brewmasters with her husband, Morkos, and is a teacher herself.

In a perfect world, Adopt-A-Classroom wouldn’t be necessary because federal, state and local officials would provide teachers with the resources they need. When that doesn’t happen, communities come together to support their schools, their students and the professional educators entrusted with preparing them for the future.

Teachers are already doing more than their fair share. Surveys estimate each teacher spends an average of $500 per year on classroom supplies — that’s an unreimbursed, out-of-pocket expense. Some shell out $1,000 or more. And even that investment doesn’t keep class closets stocked with printer paper, glue sticks, scissors, tape, crayons and colored pencils year-round.

We can grumble about the unmet need or we can resolve to do something about it. We can work to make sure Wilson County’s students have a full range of educational resources at their disposal.

There’s a long, proud tradition of ordinary people uniting behind a common cause and pitching in for the good of their communities. As Hurricane Florence’s storm surge swamped New Bern, Washington and Wilmington, Good Samaritans rescued residents stranded in flooded homes.

The Louisiana Cajun Navy, an all-volunteer organization known for its ragtag fleet of individually owned fanboats, augmented the first responder corps and came to dozens of Carolinians’ aid. Its efforts earned effusive praise from President Donald Trump, who shared a video of one such water rescue in New Bern from his Twitter account.

If we can wade through waist-high floodwater to help our neighbors and chip in for disaster relief after the storm subsides, we can each do our part to support Wilson County classrooms. This effort exemplifies the same community spirit, and it doesn’t require a flat-bottom boat or literal life preservers — just some concern and a little cash.

There are several ways to take part in the Adopt-A-Classroom drive. Individuals, families and small groups can choose a class from the wish list posted on WilsonTimes.com — a link is available in the blue bar at the top of our website — and purchase the requested supplies. Items can be given directly to the schools or dropped off at Brewmasters for delivery.

Participants can also adopt a classroom by calculating supply costs and bringing the money to Brewmasters, whose staff will do the shopping and make sure supplies get to the right place.

Finally, if you can’t sponsor an entire class but still want to contribute to the effort, Brewmasters will accept cash donations of any amount. Individual contributions will be pooled together and used to fulfill teacher wish lists for local classrooms. Even if $5 or $10 is all you can give, the money will multiply and countless needs will be met.

For more information on how you can make a difference, call Brewmasters at 252-991-6035 or email molly@brewmastersnc.com.

Lend a hand for our community, our schools and our kids. Adopt a Wilson County classroom today.