School began last week in districts large and small around the state. For some students, the inability to buy school supplies puts them at a disadvantage right from the get-go.
In the Dieringer School District, two North Tapps Middle School students used the end of their summer to make sure that didn’t happen at their school.
Friends Cassidy Gordon, 11, and Madison Hart, 13, arrived at school this week with their own supplies and four bins full of school supplies donated by themselves and their friends during an end-of-summer party.
“There’s a lot of kids who can’t afford (supplies) right now,” Gordon said with a shrug.
The idea to collect supplies during an already-planned family party came from Hart’s mother Missy Hart and the girls immediately ran with it, putting it on the invitations and setting up a table at the event to gather supplies.
Missy Hart said she received an email about the need for school supplies and suggested the party as an opportunity. But the response from friends and family surprised everyone.
“I think they learned how generous people are if you ask them,” Missy Hart said.
Andy Hart, Madison’s father, said it was important the girls learn that while people do not think there is the kind of need in the Lake Tapps community that one sees in larger, urban areas, “there’s a bigger need than most people think.”
Dieringer Heights Elementary School counselor Marty Boben agreed.
“We have a lot more families in need than ever,” she said as the supplies were divided among the counselors at the district’s three schools.
Boben and her fellow counselors all keep closets with school supplies and other items for students that need them. This year, Boben even bought a pair of shoes for a student who didn’t have any for school.
The donated supplies will provide some relief for the counselors’ closets and for the families who receive them, many of whom Boben said have to choose between school supplies and other necessities.
“It makes it so much easier when I get these things,” she said, adding that her closet was out of binders before the donation, something required of all fourth- and fifth-grade students.
The girls said they were excited to help and it made them feel good to help their fellow students.
“It feels good to help people,” Gordon said.
Madison Hart agreed and said she hoped to do a similar drive again next summer.
“They’re just phenomenal,” Superintendent Judy Neumeier-Martinson said of the girls. whom she said were always caring students. “But it’s so like them to be this way.”