Word spread quickly last week through Sto-Rox High School when students learned that the administrative offices were filled with Barack Obama paraphernalia.The campaign intentionally reached out to poorer areas. In the Sto-Rox district, 65 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
Students snapped up posters and stickers for their lockers, backpacks and bedroom walls, eager to commemorate the victory of the first African American to ascend to the nation's highest office.
The enthusiasm excited administrators, but it's not what brought tears to the eyes of Jean Schmalzreid, the district's director of federal programs and special projects. That happened when she saw school facilities workers bring in dolly after dolly piled high with thousands of dollars worth of supplies donated from Obama campaign offices in Pittsburgh.
Six computers will be dedicated to creating learning centers for struggling middle school students. An all-in-one printer, copier and fax machine will hum all day in the middle school library. And the art department received piles of markers, paint and poster board.
They were part of a program Mr. Obama's campaign, funded better than any in the history of American politics, devised in partnership with iloveschools.com, a Web site that helps connect teachers with organizations that donate school supplies.
Valerie Swanson, marketing director of iloveschools, said a specific focus of the Obama campaign was to give back and donate office supplies and other materials to schools, and they began planning how to do that a few weeks ago.
"Tens of thousands of supplies have been donated in two days to various schools across the country," Swanson said.I don't know if schools in Michigan received any supplies, but 200 campaign offices across the country have pledged donations in 12 states, including Texas, Indiana and Oregon. And, as you might imagine, districts are excited by the help because it will allow them to spend their money on other needs.
It looks like poor children finally have someone who cares about them in Washington, after being ignored for so long.
(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)