Local groups bridge gap for financially at-risk students

By: Maddie Garrett Email
By: Maddie Garrett Email

DENISON, TX - Local elementary schools are ranking high with students considered financially at risk. The Denison Independent School District said many of its students wouldn't have some of the basic necessities without community help, like donations of school supplies.

Knight Family Chiropractic partnered up with the Denison Rotary Club and other sponsors to purchase school supplies for all Denison and Pottsboro elementary schools.

Terrell Elementary School Principal David Kirkbride welcomed the first round of donated supplies to his school Tuesday afternoon.

"So if people like Knight Family Chiropractic and other businesses and churches and local individuals here in the community do not supply these school supplies our children wouldn't have those, so they'll be starting the school year off already behind,” he said.

Kirkbride said about 85% of students at Terrell are considered financially at risk and are on a free or reduce lunch plan. He said the need for the basics is a big one. Kirkbride said it’s the more expensive items like backpacks, binders and lunch boxes that students need the most.

"Just again, basic essential things that a lot of people may take for granted,” said Kirkbride.

That's why Amy Knight has been working for 15 years to raise money and donate school supplies to local kids. This year they raised over $7,000 for supplies, which is roughly a thousand dollars more than they originally needed.

"The main thing is we want to make a difference in our community and they come to depend on us. And we are very honored to be depended on for that,” said Knight.

Over half of Denison students, about 55%, are on a reduced or free lunch program. DISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott said that's nothing new.

"But in Denison, a lot of times over many years, a lot of families are struggling and need help,” said Scott.

Knight hopes their contributions will relieve some of those struggles.

“Maybe it's between school supplies and a meal, and this would be one less thing that the parent has to worry about and the kids have to stress about, and now they can focus on learning, and that's the most important thing,” said Knight.

More school supplies will be delivered in Denison and Pottsboro on Thursday and Friday, directly from Office Depot.

And Denison isn't the only district with financial troubles. Sherman ISD has even more students, 63% total, that qualify for a reduced or free lunch plan as well.

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