Kids helping kids by “adopting” a school

Parents know school supplies are expensive, and most of the supplies stay at the school, which doesn’t help when it comes to doing homework.  The “Adopt a School’ program through The Education Partnership just gave out hundreds of brand new school supplies for kids to take home with them at Carnegie Elementary School in Carnegie.  The “Adopt a School” program distributes take-home school supplies to about 20 local schools where at least 70% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Usually, the money for the supplies is raised from local businesses or community organizations, but in a few cases, one school adopts another school, and it’s students helping students.

That’s the case at Carnegie Elementary School, where the money for the supplies was raised, in part, by students at McKnight Elementary School.

Carnegie sixth grader Bailey Vetter says of his new school supplies, “I think they’re like a great resource because they’re helpful with homework and school projects and stuff.”  Each of the 412 students, from kindergarten through sixth grade, got an age-appropriate bag of supplies, including pencils, glue, folders and paper.

Second-grader Ryder Cummings said he’s going to use his new supplies to draw pictures at home. “The pencils,” he said, “I’m going to use to draw the people, and the markers and crayons to color them in.”

The supplies were provided by The Education Partnership with donations from the Carnegie and Crafton-Ingram Rotary Clubs and Hefren-Tillotson, among other companies, as well as McKnight Elementary School in the North Allegheny School District. That’s where Carnegie Elementary’s former principal, Carla Hudson, now works.  She wanted the students at McKnight to learn that they can make a difference in the lives of kids just 16 miles away.

“We wanted them to understand the importance of giving back and have a better understanding of people around them and how easy it was for us to do that,” Hudson said of her McKnight students.  The McKnight students raised thousands of dollars, packed the bags and even included notes of inspiration.  McKnight Elementary raised the money through dress-up days and other fundraisers. They even used it as a lesson on what it’s like to go without the supplies you need, giving kids an art project and then removing certain supplies and having them experience what it is like to try to do without all the supplies.

At the school supplies giveaway event in Carnegie, The Education Partnership motivated students to use their new supplies to pursue their dreams, even encouraging them to sign a pledge to dream big.  Peggy Wolstoncroft, advancement director with The Education Partnership, said, “The students need the supplies to learn, need pencils to write, erasers to erase mistakes.  They need crayons and glue and paper, and that helps them succeed in their education.”

Lauren Baughman, principal at Carnegie Elementary, said, “Just the idea that people in our community want our kids to succeed is a great thing.”

As a partner school, the teachers at Carnegie Elementary also get to go shopping, for free, from The Education Partnership’s school supply warehouse.  They can go twice a year to make sure the kids have everything they need in the classroom.  There are 100 local schools in that program, but they still need organizations or schools to adopt about 80 of them to get the at-home kits to the kids.  Upper Saint Clair is also raising money for the “Adopt a School” program, but The Education Partnership would love more schools to participate.  Schools can raise the money any way they want.

For information on how you can help, go to