All of the students who attend public and private schools on St. John will receive educational gifts from the Rotary Club of St. John.
“We do it because we absolutely believe our children are our future,” said B.J. Harris, who heads the program for the Rotary Club.
She said if children don’t get on the right path at a young age, it gets harder and harder to get them back on the right path.
“We want to give them the tools,” she said.
First- and second-grade students will receive a binder with crayons, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, stickers, and construction paper. They’ll also get a coloring book about responsible dog ownership, a subject close to Harris’ heart because she is the president of the Animal Care Center of St. John.
Third graders get dictionaries, and the rest of the students get planners. That includes grades four through eight at Julius E. Sprauve School, four through six at Guy Benjamin School, and four through eight at Gifft Hill School. Harris said Gifft Hill School purchased the planners for grades nine through 12. St. John Baptist Academy has students only through grade three.
Harris put the total cost at about $2,000. She said the project is funded with money raised at the annual Flavors of St. John event.
She said she buys the school supplies in the states because they’re cheaper and ships them “slow boat” to St. John. The dictionaries cost about $2 each, and come from the non-profit Dictionary Project. The planners run “a couple of dollars each” through Coole School, a company that specializes in student planners.
According to Harris, the planners include lots of supplemental information including lessons on issues like respect and honesty and study skills.