NEW PORT RICHEY — School supplies lists were given out months ago. Even though teachers and students are settled into the new school year, there are still other countries that need help putting pens and paper into the hands of young learners.
All five Pasco-Hernando State College campuses are collecting school supplies for students affected by Hurricane Dorian that hit the Bahamas at the beginning of September.
Due to the destruction of multiple schools, and the damage of many, a lot of students in the country were displaced and moved to new schools. These changes have strained the available school resources.
A PHSC press release stated, “Ten schools were destroyed on the island of Abaco alone, while many other schools sustained damages. The traumatized children of the Bahamas, some of whom lost family members, classmates, and their homes are transitioning to schools that are undamaged but strained to accommodate additional students.”
Lucy Miller, the director of community outreach for PHSC, believes that the routine of attending school on a daily basis is important for children, especially after the destruction that the hurricane brought down on the island.
“Returning to school is such a normal thing that children rely on,” Miller said.
The idea for the school supplies drive came up when PHSC President Timothy L. Beard reached out to a PHSC alumnus who resides in Nassau in order to check on the safety of him and his family.
D’Angelo Ferguson graduated from PHSC West Campus in 2008. During his time at the school, he earned four associate in science degrees. He lives in Nassau, the capital city of the Bahamas, and is the CEO of the Alfred & Nancy Stuart Foundation, which gives scholarships and gifts to graduating Bahamian high school students.
“School leaders are welcoming displaced students into their schools, even if not fully equipped to do so,” said Ferguson in a press release. “Despite extraordinary circumstances, returning to school establishes a sense of normalcy that children desperately need. Donations of classroom supplies will help ease the strain for schools and students.”
Ferguson left his mark on PHSC in multiple ways such as starting an empowering school club.
“D’Angelo is a natural leader and a force for positive change,” said Beard in the release.
“He established Men of Excellence, a still active student organization that encourages African-American students to succeed in college,” Beard said. “We are proud of the role he has taken to help the children of the Bahamas.”
The suggested items for donation include new backpacks, flash drives, notebooks, binders, calculators, pens, pencils, art materials and more.
“The response has been very positive,” Miller said. “It’s an easily affordable contribution.”
People can drop off donated school supplies in boxes at the library and college store at each campus. PHSC West Campus is at 10230 Ridge Road. The college stores are selling discounted supplies to anyone donating to the drive.
PHSC is also looking for the donation of a truck or truck company to load the supplies. For more information, email Lucy Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.