Fayetteville Elementary makes sure no child is left behind

Carl Johnson takes his 5-year-old daughter Leigh-ana Johnson to school on his motorized wheelchair. (Staff photo by Amber Buford)

Carl Johnson takes his 5-year-old daughter Leigh-ana Johnson to school on his motorized wheelchair. (Staff photo by Amber Burford)

With winter right around the corner, Fayetteville Elementary School hopes to help every student in need.

“We try to make sure no student is forgotten and has food, warm clothing, and any other school materials they need,” said Charlotte Wilson, the school’s assistant principal.

The school has a long list of charities that donate clothes, school supplies and non-perishable food. These charities consistof a few churches, the post office, North Carolina Central University and many more.

“My husband works for the post office,” said Wilson. “He and his co-workers recently brought the school bags and bags of jeans, coats, and winter hats since it’s getting cold so fast this year.”

Fayetteville Elementary keeps a large stock of the necessities. NCCU even donated a bus full of book bags that were full of school supplies.

“The kids all know if they are in need of something,where to go and who to talk with to get it,” said Wilson.

Some of the children who receive these benefits can’t pay for school activities, such as end-of -year field trips. Fayetteville Elementary covers the cost for the children, and provides lunches for them.

“On field trips nobody stays behind,” said Wilson. “If they need it, we help, or can’t pay we take care of it.”

Fayetteville is one of the schools in Durham that offers free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of the income of the child’s family.

The school has implemented a program called “book bag buddies.” Every Friday the school fills book bags full of non-perishable food for students from low-income homes. Every week the student brings the bag back and the school refills it.

“This is roughly our second or third year running this program,” said Yvonne Addison, the school’s guidance counselor. “For this particular program, we only do it on a referral basis unless we see the need forthe assistance.”

Book bag buddies isn’t only for the less fortunate families. The school works their way through the students, prioritizing them from the least fortunate to the rest of the school.

The students who have no financial resources at all are definitely first priority, Addison stressed. Many parents and children walk to Fayetteville Elementary because of the lack of transportation outside of public transportation. One man in particular rides his 5-year-old daughter Leigh-ana Johnson to school on his motorized scooter for people with disabilities.

“Yeah, I do this every morning around this time,” said Carl Johnson, Leigh-ana’s father.

“She got this little Hello Kitty book bag from the school, they gave her all types of notebooks, pencils, pens and paper…I just didn’t have it at the start of this school year.”
While the parents and children are gearing up for the cold winter ahead, Fayetteville is moving right along with them.

“They do a lot of nice things for all the kids outhere,” said Johnson. “For that reason my baby will be enrolled there until it’s time for middle school.”

Fayetteville Elementary School tries their best not to stray away from “no child left behind.”   “We just do what we can to help because we can,”Wilson said.