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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Local elementary school receives help from CHP

By Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
It’s amazing what can be taken for granted.

Paper in the copier, for example. It used to be teachers at Murray-LaSaine Elementary School on James Island had to be sure when they finished using the copying machine to pop open the tray to retrieve the remaining paper. It’s too hard to come by to leave it unattended.

MUSC’s College of Health Professions raised more than $2,500 in school supplies for Murray-LaSaine Elementary School. With the collected supplies are: (front row, from left) Jim Moore, Karen Richardson and Melissa Serrano. Back row: Debra Battjes Siler, JoAnn King, Marisah Daniels and Wally Pregnall.

Now, they can relax a bit. Maybe on their brightly-colored bean bags and carpets that will be adorning some of their rooms as they enjoy the new supplies dropped off by MUSC’s College of Health Professions (CHP) Dec. 10.

Interim Principal Reginald L. Bright said CHP’s school drive came just in time, with the college playing Santa and granting all of the teachers’ wish list requests.

“Colorful carpets, bean bags, markers, crayons, paper and even a laser printer for our media center brightened all of the spirits of those of us here at Murray-LaSaine,” he said. “Our school was filled with smiles and exclamations of delight. These wonderful gifts from the College of Health Professions brightened our days and reminded our teachers how truly appreciated and valued they are for all of their hard work and dedication.”

Debra Battjes Siler, director of research administration at CHP, said it was a rewarding experience for the college as well.

Murray-LaSaine students send a thank-you to the staff at the College of Health Professions.

“The kids were all standing out in front of the school holding banners and singing Christmas carols when we arrived. The teachers and the principal and the school nurse were so happy and so grateful. This is what Christmas is all about.”

The college was looking for a good cause and decided to adopt a local school. JoAnn King, CHP grant coordinator, has a daughter who works at Murray-LaSaine and she told them how the Title 1 school has to work so hard to have enough supplies. The school has more than 90 percent of its population qualifying for free or reduced lunches. The parents of these children are not required to buy school supplies; the school must provide all supplies and the teachers get only $250 a year to provide supplies for their classrooms.

“Teachers are either using their own money or they go without all year. The teachers are doing so well with so few resources. They were so excited to be getting this stuff. We decided it was a good idea to have a college support another school.”

King said her daughter and the other teachers were ecstatic that a group was willing to do something for the school, which needs so much attention. “It was spine tingling. It was a tear jerker.”

Siler, who has had to e-mail teachers to clarify items needed on supply lists they provided, said it gave her an opportunity to get to know them. “The responses were just over the top. It’s been so much fun.”

She’s had fun picturing the children using the brightly-colored bean bag chairs or knowing they’ll be able to pull special gifts from the reward treasure chest, complete with funny, stuffed monkeys. She had fun shopping for the rooms’ carpets, which were hard to find to be within their budget. “They’re doing a great job,” she said of the school’s success record in pulling up its rankings. “We felt they are very deserving of being a College of Health Professions project.”

King said it’s been amazing to watch the one-month-long drive just fall into place. They somehow managed to get all the items on the list covered, raising more than $2,500. “When Debra came in with those rugs, it was like we had won the war. Everything just worked out the way it was meant to be. We ended up with just the right amount.”

Jim Moore, IT specialist, said it was an opportunity for him to show gratitude. “People are happy, especially with the economy the way it is, to be in the position to help someone,” he said.

Karen Richardson, administrative assistant, said her motivation was the children. “That’s the important thing.”

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010

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