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Community organizations lend support to Cainhoy Elementary

Published on Wednesday, November 11, 2020

DIS rotary club members construct desks for students   Rotary Member sitting one of the constructed desks

Provided photos : Daniel Island Rotary Board members constructed more than 60 desks, which have been brought to CHE for BDL students' parents to pick up.

Local organizations have rallied around Cainhoy Elementary to lend support during the pandemic.

Three different groups have supplied more than $30,000 in recent donations to go toward the school, and a fourth group has hand-built more than 60 desks so far for blended distance learning (BDL) students to use at home.

The desks are courtesy of the Daniel Island Rotary Club. So far the school has received close to 70 built desks; the Rotary is prepared to bring more over. Parents have recently come by the school to pick desks up.

Principal LaWanda Glears said she noticed when some BDL students log in to their classroom, not all of them were sitting at desks at home; some were laying on the couch or in their beds. Glears really wanted to get some desks for those students to work at instead.

“Whether they are BDL or traditional, they do need a working environment,” Glears said.  

That was when Daniel Island community stepped in to help.

“They have just been wonderful to us,” Glears said.

built desks lined up in a CHS classroom

Provided photo

Cainhoy Elementary recently applied for a grant through the Daniel Island Community Foundation. One of the questions for the application was what did the school see as a need. Glears has seen on the news that other communities have built desks to support students during the pandemic, and she thought this was something her school needed as well.

When she applied for that grant, Glears told the Daniel Island Community Foundation that she really wanted to get manipulatives for children to help them in math, so they could have their own at home.

Glears successfully landed a $10,000 grant, which she aims to use to purchase those manipulatives.

Meanwhile, the Daniel Island Rotary Club learned the school’s BDL students needed desks, and took on the task of constructing some for the school.

Bill and Mary Ellen Greene are active members of the rotary, which has an affiliation with the Cainhoy community.

Bill said rotary members are big on “service above self.” He enjoys woodworking as a hobby – and a subgroup of the rotary is the Nailbanger Club. Over the past two years, members from this group have done different projects like building wheel chair ramps, and access ramps for residents in mobile homes.

Taking on the desks has been the most recent challenge; Bill said the objective of the Nailbanger Club is to look for projects that give members “a chance to do some good for people with our hands.”

The Rotary Club partnered with the Daniel Island Community Foundation to fund the desk project. The club members have been busy working for about six weeks.

“We just got started and are having a good time,” Bill said.

Mary Ellen is the literacy chair for the Rotary Club. Mary Ellen has been active in trying to create a reading room – a room separate from the library – at Cainhoy Elementary. Plans are currently on hold because of the pandemic. She said she wants to help create a cozy environment for a small group of students to foster literacy.

“I hope that they become lovers of learning, and that it encourages them to enjoy reading,” she said.

Cainhoy Elementary has gained even more support from other local organizations as well; the BP Cooper River plant donated $20,000 toward constructing an outdoor classroom – something Glears has always wanted to bring to the school.

“I’ve always believed that learning goes beyond the four walls of the classroom and that kids really need to go on and have hands-on experiences,” she said.

Two BP representatives giving check donation to LaWanda Glears

Provided photo / Hope Lanier, Director of External Affairs, and John Harvey, Plant Manager of BP Cooper River plant, with Principal LaWanda Glears.

The school has also received $1,571 from the Community Neighborhood Watch, which Glears said she is going to earmark for continued student and staff recognition (like making plaques and certificates). Its board of directors presented the financial donation on Oct. 21. The Neighborhood Watch Program is organized to enable the police and community to work together to make specific geographical areas more crime resistant to reduce crime.

All these donations have come within the past month.

“I am just so proud that the community has rallied with us during this difficult time, and that we are not forgotten,” Glears said. “We can make difference in the lives of the students of Cainhoy with those funds.”

board members giving donation to CHE

Provided Photo / Community Neighborhood Watch board of directors with CHE Principal LaWanda Glears. Pictured from left are Leola Mitchell, Chaplain; Mary  Ellington, Treasurer; Sybil Mitchell, CNW President; Lawanda Glears, Principal; and Ella Chisolm, CNW VP.  Not pictured - Willie Singleton, Honorary Member.