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McKeesport, Clairton students receive vital school supplies

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, 5:02 a.m.
The Education Partnership Executive Director Justin Brown, asks students what their future plans are during a visit to McKeesport Area School Districts Founder Hall on Monday. They were there to hand out boxes of school supplies to students. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Clairton elementary students Anthony Janetka, Josiah Morrison and Ceniya Carper look through the boxes they recieved from The Education Group during an assembly Monday. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News
Volunteers from The Education Group hand out boxes with school supplies to children at the Clairton Education Center Monday. Cindy Shegan Keeley | Daily News

McKeesport Area School District's Founders Hall Middle School and Clairton City School District students received boxes full of school supplies and other materials on Monday courtesy of The Education Partnership.

Partnership executive director Justin Brown told the students the boxes were packed with “power tools.”

“They have the power for you to achieve your potential,” Brown said as he encouraged them to pursue their dreams and goals.

Boxes each contained pencils, pens, a toothbrush and toothpaste, erasers, glue sticks, facial tissues, a dictionary, a calculator and other items. McKeesport received 602 boxes and Clairton 822.

Students were very enthusiastic to receive their materials.

“It's going to give us the supplies we need to progress on through the year and do what we need to do,” said McKeesport seventh-grader Matt Horst. “I just think that it's very generous of them to be able to donate these supplies for us.”

“I think that it's kind of nice for all the people out there to think about us,” McKeesport seventh-grader Victoria Richards said.

“It's going to help us because it's going to give us more class materials that we can use, so we don't have to get up in the middle of class and ask our teacher,” Clairton fifth-grader Jordon Burnsworth said. “We can just get to our work right away by going in our desks. It feels pretty good knowing that there's someone to give us materials for the school.”

“I think it's going to help us out because a lot of people need school supplies,” Clairton fourth-grader Jayden Glass said. “They lose their pencils and everything in the classroom because other people take them. If you guys give them all to us, everyone would have a pencil so they don't have to take yours. I think it's nice because they come and help us and we don't have money to pay them.”

Several students told Brown they hope to become firefighters, police officers, medical researchers and athletes.

“It's great to hear their ideas, their optimism, their innocence, their excitement,” Brown said. “It's great to tap into that and give them an opportunity to think about the future and who they are and what they can do and what they might want to do, what gets them excited. It's pretty cool.”

The Education Partnership, formerly known as Storehouse for Teachers, is based in Pittsburgh and serves Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties.

It's dedicated to aiding underserved students by providing their teachers with basic school supplies at no charge. Materials are stored at a warehouse in Pittsburgh's West End.

“It's a free store for teachers,” Brown said. “It's expensive. We raise money all year for it, and it's usually a stretch for us, praying and planning and working so that we can keep funded and be sustainable. We want to be able to sustain this and grow it so that we reach every kid in Southwestern (Pennsylvania).”

Brown said 30,000 students qualify to receive supplies, but the partnership only can give boxes to approximately 6,200 because of funding.

This is the third year for the Education Partnership's program, and the first time at Founders Hall. The partnership came to Clairton last year.

McKeesport consumer science teacher Christy Oakley and seventh- and eighth-grade English teacher Amy Clark spearheaded their district's efforts with the help of principal Karen Chapman.

Clark said Chapman filled out a survey and supported the effort.

“We have to apply to be part of the program,” Clairton superintendent Wayde Killmeyer said. “Not every school or school district that applies gets accepted to be a partner with the Education Partnership. One of the reasons we were chosen to be a part of it again this year is because we had such high participation last year. If your teachers don't go and take advantage of this, then they don't invite you back again.”

The Education Partnership's efforts are sponsored by American Eagle Outfitters, Chemistry, First Student Inc., HDS, Giant Eagle, Kits for Kidz, PITT OHIO, PNC, Russell and Shelby Livingston, Target, The Buhl Foundation, The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh Foundation and WQED.

More information about The Education Partnership is available online at

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

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