I appreciated the inclusion of the political cartoon on the Opinion page of the Trail Times, Wednesday, August 21, 2019.
The cartoon entitled “Back to School – The Three R’s” depicts two children, “readin’” and “riting’” respectively, and their parents reviewing a school supply and fee list. The parent caption defines the third “R” as “remortgagin’”.
Because of my involvement over the last decade with Holy Trinity Parish’s Skool-Aid program, I am familiar with the costs of outfitting a child for a new school year. For readers unfamiliar with Skool-Aid, it is an annual non-denominational program that provides students of lower income families with new school supplies at the beginning of the school year. Students are referred to the program through their school.
School supply lists have changed dramatically over the years. In addition to the obvious things, like pens, pencils, and notebooks, some lists now include items such as photocopier paper, whiteboard markers, playing cards, kleenex, lysol wipes, and ear buds . At the elementary school level, parents can expect to pay fees for the performing arts, technology and an agenda. While these fees are not exorbitant, coupled with the cost of supplies, new shoes and clothes, many families struggle with the cost of back to school.
Since 2010, Skool-Aid has provided 1480 packages of supplies to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. This year, another 225 students will be added to that number. None of this would be possible without Skool-Aid’s partnership with Mills Office Productivity in Trail, and the generosity of the community. Community and corporate support for Skool-Aid indicates a collective concern for the wellbeing of children and families in our area.
There is something inspiring and motivating about a blank notebook, pencils waiting to be sharpened, and ink waiting to be spilled.
Having the tools for learning certainly helps master the three “R’s” – reading, writing, and arithmetic.