By Thaddeus Govan
ABOVE PHOTO: Natashsa Robinson’s pleased that her daughter Shyanne Davis won the computer.
Even though it was late August, it might have seemed as if Christmas had arrived early for the students of the Potter Thomnas School. The school buses rolled up to the Forman Mills store at Aramingo and Tioga Streets at about 9:30 in the morning, and unloaded about 250 children from the local elementary school nearby for a give-away of school clothing and a raffle for three computers.
Forman Mills and the School Disrict of Philadelphia partnered to bring the kids to location near the school as part of a 10-year-old program designed to help motivated students in need of a hand up get the clothing and supplies they needed to start the school year, said Claudia Averette, Deputy Chief Administration for the District.
The schools chosen have to meet certain requirements, Averette said.
“The school had to be one that has an overwhelmingly needy population,” she said. “It also has to be one that showed a lot of promise in meeting the Annual Yearly Progress or AYP goals. It was extremely important that Potter Thomas met those goals. Last year, the school was very behind, and this year, they’ve improved a lot, and so we’re glad to have them in the program.”
From the looks on the faces of the children, the event was a smashing success. Shaquan Wynn, age 13 was actively scooping up shirts and pants, and consulted Dywonne Davis-Harris, the principal of the school, about them.
Zaida Alsaro, the Assistant Principal also told me that the parents are very involved in the school. “This is the second year that this school has been designated a “Promise Academy”. Since we have this designation, there is a Student Advisory Council that we have. They meet once a month, and it has parents, teachers, and some neighborhood businesses in it.”
Maryann Castro, the manger of the store Aramingo Avenue store, says that this is an event that happens every year. “Rick Forman, the CEO, picks out a needy school for this each year. Then, we bring the kids over, give them a $30 voucher, free hot dogs and drinks, face painting, and balloons. They love it, and we all have a good time doing it.”
The last part of the day was spent raffling off the computers. Elizabeth Sanchez, 7, Shyanne Davis, a 7th grader, and David Gola, 13, were the winners of the machines.
But while David was excited, his joy couldn’t compare to that of his mother, Wilma Garcia.
“I’m so excited that we won!” she said.