CHICAGO — Each student at two Chicago schools will win free school supplies in this year’s Back 2 School Illinois “Win School Supplies for an Entire School” contest.
Anyone can nominate a school, and to do so, you need to submit an application by Aug. 1. There is no limit for how many times a school can be nominated in a year, according to a press release.
“What’s important about this is we not only literally are giving the kids the tools they need to do their work, but we’re also impacting their self worth, their self-esteem,” said Matthew Kurtzman, CEO of Back 2 School Illinois.
Students at the winning schools will be surprised during their first week of classes with their own kits full of core supplies, which are grade-appropriate, Kurtzman said. Kits for younger grades include supplies like construction paper, glue and crayons, he said, while kits for older students include things like protractors, spiral notebooks and highlighters. Each kit has about 30 items.
Kurtzman said that the selection for contest winners is primarily based on an essay that is written as part of the application, many of which are emotional, he said.
DeWitt Clinton Elementary School, a Level 1+ school serving the Rogers Park and West Ridge, was one of two schools picked last year to receive school supplies for its students.
With more than 1,100 students enrolled at the school, about 93 percent of are low-income students, according to the school’s profile on the Chicago Public Schools website. English is a second language for more than 50 percent of students at the DeWitt Clinton, according to the school’s website.
Assistant Principal Virag Nanavati said receiving the supplies helped kick off the year for the students because they were prepared from the first day. He said the students were excited to get the supplies, and kids carried around the kits like little briefcases.
“It’s a big boost of confidence to them to know that they’ve got the supplies,” he said.
Kurtzman stressed the importance of community members getting involved in supporting education, whether that means supporting additional funding, mentoring kids, tutoring, contributing to organizations like B2SI or volunteering at schools.
He encouraged everyone to contribute to improving the education system and providing kids with better opportunities so they can lead productive lives.
“It’s the best investment we can make,” he said.
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