See how, for the first time, kids in this outer East Portland neighborhood got free backpacks filled with school supplies …
Ricardo Becerril, senior project manager with LCG Pence Construction, shows all of the supplies their company stuffed into backpacks to be given to all Lent School students.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
You’ve seen stories telling how organizations have “adopted” schools, purchasing back-to-school supplies for students. But, until this year, Lent School has languished – no sponsors meant no backpacks.
Construction firm steps up
“This is the first year of a partnership between LCG Pence Construction and Lent School,” said Gayle Kellman, Executive Director of Schoolhouse Supplies, the nonprofit organization that coordinates the backpack giveaways.
“This is one of the highest-need schools in all of Portland Public Schools,” Kellman explained. “We have sought to find a sponsor year after year, but haven’t succeeded until LCG Pence stepped up. This is an extra exciting day for us. We hope to have this partnership continue year after year.”
Company connection with school
Surrounded by company staff members, Ricardo Becerril, senior project manager with LCG Pence Construction, was beaming with a big smile as he watched the young students file into the school’s auditorium.
“I manage our school construction division,” Becerril said, “so this event is near and dear to me. We look for opportunities for our company and our employees, to not only work for schools and earn a profit from them – but also to give back to the school districts for which we work.”
Becerril reminded us that their company was chosen for the fire restoration project at the school about five years ago, as he showed us what was in the backpacks: Notebooks, folders, a pouch with pencils, pens, and markers – all the school supplies one would need to start the year as a young scholar.
Principal Linda Ralley says the value of this sponsor’s contribution can’t be overestimated.
Principal praises donation
Looking exuberant with joy was the school’s Principal, Linda Ralley.
“This wonderful business is showing it understands that children in schools are our future citizens,” lauded Ralley. “It shows they’re paying attention to families and youngsters here in the outer east Portland, who face rising costs for housing, fuel, food – and school supplies. We’re overjoyed!”
The value of this particular contribution by their new partner is about a $27,000, Ralley told us. “That is significant; the value can’t be overestimated. This is This is really, really terrific.”
Students express gratitude
As the kids settled down, Ralley began, “This is a special assembly. On the very first day of school, in the very first hour of school this year, we get to give you something. Every student is going to get a backpack, filled with supplies, to help you achieve. Let the volunteers from our sponsors, LCG Pence Construction, know you appreciate this gift.”
Enthusiastic applause spread across the gathered assembly. Row by row, students lined up and eagerly clutched their gift.
Lent School eighth-graders Audrey Sturgeon and Kayla Roysdon thank Ricardo Becerril for their backpacks and school supplies.
“Our school doesn’t have a lot of money for providing supplies,” said eighth-grader Audrey Sturgeon, “nor do many of our parents. I really appreciate the backpack.”
Her classmate, Kayla Roysdon, added, “It’s really great that a company would be so thoughtful as to donate these supplies. I definitely think it’ll help us out. Our parents won’t have to be stressed out about spending a lot of money on school supplies. I think it’s wonderful.”
You can help
“People can help Schoolhouse Supplies all year long by volunteering, donating school supplies and cash donations,” Kellman mentioned. “The best place to start is by visiting our web site.”
We’ll take you there! Simply CLICK HERE!
© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News