TU helps Kendall-Whittier Elementary students through backpack donation

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Students from Kendall-Whittier Elementary School jumpstarted their school year, thanks to a donation of backpacks and school supplies from The University of Tulsa.

TU students distributed more than 1,000 backpacks filled with a variety of school supplies to the elementary school students following an August 18 assembly. Judy Feary, principal of Kendall-Whittier Elementary School, said the donations would provide students with much needed tools in order to achieve their educational goals.

One of Oklahoma’ s largest schools, Kendall-Whittier is an interurban school with an ethnically diverse student population of 1,000 students. With more than 80 percent of students eligible for free lunch programs, some families within the school aren’t able to provide school supplies for their children.

That’s where TU stepped in.

The backpack distribution was conceived and organized by TU employees and students as part of True Blue Neighbors, a university initiative to give back to the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood adjacent to the TU campus, said TU President Steadman Upham.

“We are proud to be partners with Kendall-Whittier Elementary, and we have a long history of providing assistance to the school and its students,” Upham said during the school assembly.

“In order to do well in school, you have to have the right tools,” he told the students attending the assembly. “I hope that every time you open this backpack up, you think about how you are going to study and how you are going to learn and how one day you will be able to go to college.”

During the summer, TU staff members and student-athletes worked together in early August to assemble the backpacks filled with a variety of school supplies. TU officials, students and staff were invited to attend the Aug. 18 school assembly where Feary thanked the university for its generosity and commitment through its donations of time, resources, and volunteer service hours to the school and its students.

Also during the assembly, officials from TU and Kendall-Whittier signed an agreement recognizing that TU had adopted the school as an official Partner in Education, which is sponsored by the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce. The Partner in Education program links community resources with Tulsa’s children in order to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for future success.

Following the assembly, members of the TU men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball team distributed the backpacks to classrooms throughout the school.

“Nothing would make us happier than when you do so well in school and it’s time for you to go to college, that would you would come to The University of Tulsa,” Upham said. “That would be a wonderful conclusion to what we begin here today.”

David Hamby

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