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Searcy School Wins Supplies from Walmart Program

/ Source: KARK 4 News

Searcy's McRae Elementary is getting a truckload of school supplies thanks to Walmart.

It's all part of the discount chain's Write to Change the Classroom program, which encouraged a Searcy teacher to get involved.

My goal is simple: I want to engage my students in the often forgotten areas of science and social studies. Withvaluable hands-on resources, I can change the way my students see their world and their responsibility in it said Jessica White, McRae Elementary teacher, in the essay she submitted to the Write to Change the Classroom program. Click here to read Jessica White's complete letter.

The program got its start after Walmart heard about a letter from eighth-grader TySheoma Bethea to her congressman pleading for the basic school necessities she and her classmates needed.

Walmart began to wonder: how many other pleas are going unheard? Inspired by the courageous effort of one 14-year-old girl, Walmart launched the Write to Change the Classroom program, asking teachers, parents and students to write about their school-supply needs. And they did. After receiving hundreds of heartfelt requests, the retailer is awarding $8,000 in school supplies to each of the 20 selected schools, including Searcy's McRae Elementary.

Many schools are unable to provide the essentials books, paper and pencils for their students this year. We wanted to help, said Janet Bareis, vice president of marketing, Walmart. We are eager to continue the efforts started by Bethea and hope that we can bring positive change to classrooms this school year.

Jessica White of Searcy's McRae Elementary is among the 20 recipients who will each receive $4,000-worth of school supplies for her designated classroom and an additional $4,000 toward supplies for the entire school. Essays were judged by Bethea as well as an esteemed panel of four nationally-recognized educators, and were reviewed based on the level of need, creativity and the positive impact these supplies would have on the school. The complete list of teachers selected as recipients include:

* Meghan Blackburn, George I. Pair Elementary (West Columbia, S.C.)
* Tina Blalock, Lula Elementary School (Lula, Ga.)
* Dawn Cottman, Samuel P. Massie Elementary School (Forestville, Md.)
* Jan Creasey, Alta Loma Junior High School (Alta Loma, Calif.)
* Lynn Farr, Martin Elementary School (Flowery Branch, Ga.)
* Melissa Galvan, Abraham Lincoln Elementary (Pomona, Calif.)
* Cara Gebhard, Highlands Intermediate School (Pearl City, Hawaii)
* Anita Holmes, Anderson Elementary School (North Pole, Alaska)
* Cindy Lee, C.C. Snell Middle School (Bayard, N.M.)
* Sharon McIlwain, I.B. Tigrett Middle School (Jackson, Tenn.)
* Kathryn Mellette, North Hall Middle School (Gainesville, Ga.)
* Amy Metcalf, Cactus Shadows High School (Cave Creek, Ariz.)
* Rebecca Remsburg, Walkersville Middle School (Walkersville, Md.)
* Bridget Rodriguez, Flowery Branch High School (Flowery Branch, Ga.)
* Mitzi Scott, Briarmeadow Charter School (Houston, Texas)
* Lindsey Serv, Harrisburg Pike Community School (Columbus, Ohio)
* Cheryl Simon, Ethel Young Elementary (Houston, Texas)
* Kristi Summit, Southwestern Middle and High School (Hanover, Ind.)
* Jessica White, Searcy McRae Elementary (Searcy, Ark.)
* Linda Winfree, Baconton Community Charter School (Baconton, Ga.)

The Write to Change the Classroom panel of judges was selected based on outstanding teaching credentials and recognition by prestigious educational organizations around the nation. The panel of judges was comprised of Luajean Bryan, Tennessee 2009 Teacher of the Year; Margaret Williams, Missouri 2009 Teacher of the Year; Loredana Wicketts, California 2009 Teacher of the Year Honoree; Nancy Davidson, New Jersey Governor's Outstanding Teacher Award (1994) and Bethea.

It was truly inspirational to read these passionate letters and to realize how little teachers have to work with, how many children face school unprepared economically and how difficult the learning situation becomes, said Luajean Bryan, Tennessee 2009 Teacher of the Year who acted as a judge for the Write to Change the Classroom program. Once I began reading the submissions like a good book I couldnt put them down. It is a program like this that makes a positive impact in childrens lives by providing students with the tools and resources they may have otherwise gone without.

Click here for more information about Walmarts Write to Change the Classroom program.
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