JONESVILLE — Halloween started off with a treat at Jonesville Elementary/Middle School when Dollar General donated $40,000 to the school.
Dollar General District Center Director Bill Wilkison and other company officials came to the school Thursday morning carrying a yellow and black box. They did not initially reveal the contents of the box, saying only that it contained a very special gift.
Wilkison and his fellow officials carried the box to the school library where he and Niki Stinespring, the center’s senior human resources manager, each read a book to a group of students gathered for the ceremony. Prior to Wilkison and Stinespring reading to the children, Mark Coe, director of human resources for the center, told the children about Dollar General.
After he read “Otto Goes To Bed” and Stinespring read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” to the children, Wilkison then opened the black and yellow box and presented a surprised and delighted Principal Rene Pryor with a check for $40,000. Wilkison said the purpose of the donation is to help support the school’s literacy programs.
“Dollar General is very passionate about its mission of serving others and we are all excited to surprise Jonesville Elementary/Middle School with a donation to further their reading and literacy programs,” Wilkison said. “We hope this donation will help equip the school with the tools and resources it needs to improve the learning experience for students.”
Coe said that the donation was part of Dollar General’s policy of giving back to the communities it serves, particularly in the area of literacy.
“One of the things that we do at Dollar General is serve others, that is our mission statement,” Coe said. “We really focus on literacy in the communities we have a presence, whether it is a store or a distribution center. It is our way of giving back to the community.”
Coe added that the donation is part of Dollar General’s new “Reading Revolution” program which aims to provide schools with additional resources to purchase books, computers and other educational supplies to enhance their reading and literacy programs.
In accepting the check, Pryor wiped tears from her eyes as she thanked Dollar General for what she said was a generous and much-needed gift to the school.
“Dollar General will never know how much their donation means to JEMS,” Pryor said. “Our Title I monies were cut this year and this money will help to fund literacy programs that we would have been unable to have at Jonesville.
“For example, our “100 Book Challenge,’” she said. “We implemented it last year in kindergarten and had hoped that we would be able to incorporate the program into the first grade and even higher grades. This money will allow us to continue the program.”
Pryor said the donation will help provide resources for grammar and writing in all grades at the school.
Also in attendance at the presentation was Union County School District Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall who thanked Dollar General for the donation and its previous support of the schools.
“We are very excited about the donation from Dollar General,” Woodall said. “They support our schools in many ways, including donating supplies for our healthy snacks initiative, smaller literacy grants at Adult Education, and now this extremely generous gift earmarked for literacy at JEMS.”
Woodall pointed out that the donation could have a tremendous impact on the academic success of the school’s students.
“We all know that the best indication for graduation is on-grade-level reading by third grade,” Woodall said. “This gift will help us help our Jonesville Elementary students reach that goal.”
Pryor pointed out that the donation could continue having an impact on the students’ lives long after they graduate.
“Thank you Dollar General for caring and loving the children of Jonesville,” Pryor said. “Your gift will last a lifetime.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.