By working together, the principal and members of the Minnieville Elementary School community were able to provide all of their students with free school supplies for the coming school year.
Minnieville Principal Nathaniel Provencio said that the school is Title I, with 60% of the students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch, so the economic impact of buying school supplies was a hardship for many families.
“The majority of our families do have some economic instability that happens within their lives. So when you look at times like the start of the school year, purchasing school supplies ends up being a pretty heavy burden on the majority of our students,” said Provencio.
The idea for the school supplies came about when Provencio was buying school supplies for his own son.
“At the beginning of last year, as a dad, I was purchasing school supplies for my son. And I was kind of complaining – I guess to myself, maybe a little bit out loud…and as I was having this conversation, basically to myself, another parent heard me talking and said, ‘Yeah, I’m having the same problem,’” said Provencio.
Come to find out, the person who he spoke with in the store was a parent of a child at Minnieville.
Following that interaction, Provencio took his idea to provide school supplies to all of the school’s students to Minnieville’s leadership team and parent-teach organization (PTO).
“Our PTO doesn’t necessarily bring in a tremendous amount of money, but our PTO does know that their mission is to try to support our students and our community,” said Provencio.
By working with the PTO, business partners, and utilizing donations and existing supplies, Minnieville was able to supply all of the students with their initial beginning of the year school supplies for free.
“It only cost the school – because we bought in bulk, and we used donors and donations – about $10 per child in order to get them everything they need in an equitable fashion to start the school year off,” said Provencio.
The school spent $5,000 in total on the supplies, which included crayons, rulers, notebooks, folders, pencils, and more.
The supplies were provided to families at the school’s open house event this week.
“We had parents that were crying with joy – we just realized what a great gift it was that we were giving back to our community,” said Provencio.
Provencio hopes that other Prince William schools and beyond will replicate what Minnieville has done.
“We’re hoping that other schools will hear about our story and hear about the power that a PTO has to pay back into the community,” said Provencio.