Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Principal Amy Pesina's name.
Washington Elementary students received a big boost on Tuesday before even starting the new school year. Emerson Process Management arrived Tuesday morning to provide the school with 26 cases filled with around $1,500 worth of school supplies.
The company has been providing supplies for the elementary school for several decades and this year was one of their largest donations yet. Scott Zaccanelli, who is a supervisor with Emerson Process Management, was happy to be part of the process.
“We have adopted Washington Elementary as a school that we wish to help,” Zaccanelli said.
He talked about how strong the community ties are as a lot of people in the area work for the company. Zaccanelli described it as a way to give back to the people who support the company.
“The kids are the future of the world,” Zaccanelli said. “We want these kids to succeed in the future.”
Sherman Independent School District officials said the donation is meaningful to the students at Washington Elementary because 92 percent of the school's students are classified as low-socioeconomic status. A lot of their parents can't afford to purchase all of the needed supplies for their students.
“It's been great to have them (Emerson) sponsor our families that have difficulty purchasing these supplies,” Kimberly Simpson, director of communications for Sherman ISD, said.
Simpson said Emerson has been supporting students and their families for the last 30 years. She said the company does more than buy school supplies, it also sponsor families for Christmas by providing gifts for the entire family. Simpson said Emerson has been the district's longest supporting partner.
Principal Amy Pesina was very excited about the donation. She said it not only benefits the students but it helps school teachers.
“Elementary teacher are notorious for spending their own money on supplies,” Pesina said. “They don't want their children to be without. This makes it less of a burden for them.”
Pesina described it as a blessing for Emerson to be able to come in and support the teachers and students.
“They know they are coming to a safe place and everything is ready for them,” Pesina said of students.
She talked about how it allows students and teachers more time to build relationships by not having to worry about finding paper or pencils for students. Pesina pointed out how it was one of the largest donations to date.
“Every year, it gets bigger and they bring more supplies,” Pesina said. “It's less for us to worry about.”
Jennifer Irwin, a dyslexia specialist for the school, was very pleased with the turn out.
“I think it's amazing what a nice partnership we have between the community and schools,” Irwin said.
She reiterated how important the donation is for teachers who often spend a lot of their own money on students who don't have the necessary supplies.
“Students start the year off in a positive way,” Irwin said. “Teachers don't have to dip into their personal funds.”
She said students also don't have to worry about being singled out. The first day of school is very active and Irwin said teachers will quickly learn which students have a need and will discretely send them to someone who can get them everything they need. She said that way the students who have supplies won't even notice.
There are around 420 students starting off at Washington Elementary this year. Irwin was very excited to see the reactions of the students who will be getting everything they need to start the year off.
“Their faces are shining, smiling with their cool new backpacks and colorful binders, they love it,” Irwin said.
Everything from backpacks, pencils and markers to erasers, crayons and more were donated to the school by Emerson. The teachers and faculty wore big smiles on their faces as they opened the boxed digging out all the items they will get to hand out to their students.
“It is an amazing, generous thing this company does for our school,” Irwin said. “The community is so involved in the lives of these children.”
Emerson's rep said the company puts a lot of hope into the children's futures. The employees who delivered the boxes were all excited too.
“This gives us pride in the community,” Zaccanelli said. “We have a sense of hope for the future. It allows us to give back to the people who helped us.”