Investing In Students

Pictured in the bottom row: (L-r) Darla Cook, Liz Conrad, El Campo ISD Assistant Superintendent Alicia Stary, St. Philip Catholic School Principal Gwen Edwards, Mindi Snyder, Rotary Secretary Michelle Roy, Myatt Principal Mauri Couey and Melissa Guttenberger. Middle row: (L-r) Rotary President Cheryl Roitsch, Mary Arredondo, Pam Hunt, El Campo High School Principal Demetric Wells and City Development Corporation Director Carolyn Gibson. Top row: (L-r) Kyle Poenitzch, ECISD Superintendent Bob Callaghan, Northside Principal Rebecca Crowell and Judge Randy Clapp.

El Campo schools were the focus of El Campo Rotary Club’s community donations in recent weeks in light of the challenges educators and students face during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“El Campo Rotarians teamed up to recognize and encourage students and teachers as they get back to a new school year and strive to make the best of the new normal of learning under the Covid-19 circumstances,” Rotarian Melissa Guttenberger said.

Rotarians approached the schools, looking to help ease this year’s added burdens from the pandemic. Leaders at each school were asked to decide how they wanted to use the rotary’s donation and to submit a summary of the need or project.

“The only requirement for the funds was that it be used to help students,” Guttenberger said.

St. Philip and each ECISD campus was awarded up to $2,000, depending on the project request they submitted to the rotary.

District and campus leaders for El Campo ISD and St. Philip Catholic school accepted an honorary check from the rotary Thursday, but the actual funds are already in the works for most of the schools, being issued earlier this school year.

At El Campo High School, a new program was created in partnership with the rotary where students exemplifying outstanding character will be nominated to win prizes at the end of each grading period.

“We are extra excited about this project as we hope to encourage positive character and school pride not only in our schools, but in our community,” Guttenberger said.

The initiative, dubbed “Rotary’s Serve Like a Champion Team,” will reward nine students, selected by educators, every nine weeks, beginning this week.

A similar idea will be implemented at El Campo Middle School through the campus’ new “Ricebird Pride Cart.” Students who demonstrate hard work or good behavior will be awarded vouchers, which they can save up and redeem for Ricebird t-shirts and other prizes.

At Myatt Elementary and Hutchins Elementary, extra PE equipment was purchased with the rotary donations so that students have enough equipment to use while staff sanitizes the other set.

Northside Elementary leaders ordered reusable water bottles for students and teachers to use since water fountains cannot be used due to COVID-19 safety regulations.

Additional lunch tables were purchased at St. Philip to help Pre-K students social distance during lunch.

El Campo’s Rotary Club supports local schools, among other organizations, as part of their community outreach. Annual events, like the teacher appreciation banquet held since 1943, and high school career day hosted since 1958, are part of the organization’s mission.

“Rotary appreciates and supports all that our teachers, administrators and parents are doing to make this school year the best for the kids,” Guttenberger said.

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