Evans Elementary School third-grader Morgan Smith presented her teacher Dealia Yancey with a piece of notebook paper entitled The List, itemizing all of the supplies in her shoebox that would be mailed to schoolchildren in Iraq.
Evans Elementary third-graders Rachel Yaworsky, 9, from left) Lauren McDaniel, 9, and Morgan Smith, 8, select school supplies to put into shoe boxes for pupils in Iraq.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"I just thought it would be nice for people in Iraq to have stuff to go to school with so they could know that two plus two equals four, and five plus five equals 10, so they could write down spelling words and answer questions," Morgan said.
Yancey's class led a schoolwide project - Evans Elementary School Project Iraq: Making a Difference in Education - to collect and mail school supplies to children in Iraq. Yancey estimated they assembled about 80 shoe boxes filled with supplies.
"Students need to see children just like them have nothing like what we have in America," Yancey said. "If our soldiers are willing to risk their lives, the least we can do is help the children."
Yancey's husband, H. Don Yancey, is a retired U.S. Army chaplain and is pastor of First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Augusta.
Their friend R.J. Gore, dean of Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, S.C., is an Army Reserve chaplain with the 172nd Corps Support Group at Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad. His unit is rebuilding schools in the area. Many classrooms have been destroyed during the war and most lack basic school supplies.
"These children have seen things I hope our children never see. But these are children eager to learn," Mrs. Yancey said. "The kids don't have pencils. The teachers don't have chalk. I want them to see that even 8- and 9-year-olds in Evans, Ga., can make a difference in the future of Iraq."
The Yanceys started collecting supplies at their church. Then, Mrs. Yancey decided to make it a class project and ultimately expanded it to include the whole school. In just one week, there were school tables stacked with pencils, erasers, glue sticks, writing pads, chalk, crayons, markers, colored pencils, pens, bookmarks and stickers.
Classrooms such as this one in Iraq will be the recipients of Evans Elementarys school-supply drive.
"It's helping other children learn, and they are excited to learn - they are desperate to do it," Levi Adkins, 8, said.
Through a PowerPoint presentation, Mrs. Yancey has worked to educate her children about the living conditions of Iraqis and the rebuilding effort in the war-torn country.
"The kids in Iraq, war is going on, and they don't have a good school," Rachel Yaworsky, 9, said. "Most have been torn down, and they're really eager to learn. I would like to go over there and talk to the Iraqis and see how they feel about school and us sending supplies over there."
Mrs. Yancey has incorporated related lessons across the curriculum: from a discussion on recycling - they used paper grocery bags to wrap the boxes - to math - "If you had two packs of pens with 10 in each pack, how many pens would you have in the box?"
On Friday, Corey Burke walked up to his teacher:
"Me and Corey worked together," he said, showing her their box.
Evans Elementary School
third-grade teacher Dealia Yancy hands out school
supplies to be placed into shoe boxes.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"You mean, 'Corey and I worked together,"' she corrected him.
"And we know how many pencils we have in our box - 241," he said.
The Yanceys have also been adding up the price of postage, about $6 a box. They have received a donation from the Optimists Club, and the Yanceys will pay the rest.
"All of this devastation is affecting the children," Mrs. Yancey said. "If we want Iraq to stand on its own, we've got to educate the children, and they can't do that without supplies."
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