Representatives from the West Virginia Black Bears organization and Cooper the Bear traveled to area schools and passed out over 200 backpacks and school supplies on Monday.
“To be able to receive these, especially on this day, is perfect for us. We’re having our meet and greet this evening, so we hope to have seven hundred kids and their parents walking through our doors tonight to meet their teachers and some of those who might come in a little anxious are going to have a new backpack waiting for them, because maybe they didn’t have one that they needed for the next day,” said Deann Hartshorn, principal at Eastwood Elementary School.
Earlier this month, the Black Bears hosted a ‘Mononongalia County Schools Teachers Appreciation’ night, where several season ticket holders donated school supplies. They also partnered with Chestnut Ridge Church’s ‘Back Pack to School’ program to collect donations.
“We kind of looked at it and said how can we make this as much as a community effort as possible and it is so important because the community gives so much back to us. We want to be able to give back to them and this school system is very important to us. Cooper is in and out of the schools all of the time during the school year, so we want to make sure that the kids are putting their best foot forward with great school supplies to start the year,” said Jackie Riggleman of the West Virginia Black Bears.
Eastwood Elementary, South Middle School, and University High Schools were chosen to receive the donations.
“As an educator, it means the absolute world. We see children that really have a need for school supplies and to know that they’re going to come in the first day and have everything that they need to learn and to be ready as an educator it says so much. It just sets that foundation that we’re going to be ready to start instruction on day one and not worry about where we’re going to find the supplies,” said Amber Nichols, Kindergarten teacher at Eastwood Elementary School.