AMBOY – Illinois Representative Bradley Fritts is orchestrating community School Supply Drive to help those in need as we approach the beginning of the 2023-24 school year.
Fritts, a Republican from Dixon, began the drive on July 17 and will run it through July 31.
His website repfritts.com has a listing of 11 drop-off locations in Amboy, Dixon, Earlville, Ashton, Paw Paw, Polo, Rochelle, Morrison, Rock Falls, Sterling, and Waterman.
In a press release, Fritts spoke on his intent to help Illinois education.
“If we want to improve our education system, we need to ensure all students have access to the resources they need to excel in their studies,” said Fritts. “Without the necessary supplies, it’s incredibly challenging for any student to succeed. Let’s come together as a community to provide these children with the tools they need to build a brighter future.”
The drop-off in Amboy is Amboy High School at 11 E. Hawley St.
Dixon has three drop-off locations as the Dixon Rural Fire Department at 1020 Palmyra St., Dixon High School at 300 Marks Dallas Way, and the Dixon School District Office at 101 W. 1st St., Suite 501, will be collecting school supplies.
Amboy Superintendent Joshua Nichols was impressed a state representative was willing to help an issue Amboy schools see every year.
“School drives are very helpful. You’re getting supplies to kids and that’s the single, biggest thing. There is definitely a need for help within the community. Anytime we can get any help like this, it’s very appreciated,” said Nichols, who is heading into his sixth year as the AHS superintendent and was a principal for five years previously. “School supplies are expensive. When you get them at the start of the year, you see the prices and realize how expensive supplies are. It’s nice that people are willing to donate supplies.
“We’ve had people donate supplies before, but never from a politician. We’ve had donations from Teen Turf, many churches, the Lions Club, and a lot more. A lot of people and organizations will help kids. It’s always needed.”
Depending on store, brands, size, quantity, and quality, school supply costs could range from $150-300.
The School Supply Drive list of requested school items includes backpacks, 3-ring binders, colored pencils, crayons, disinfecting wipes, pink erasers, tissues, glue sticks, hand sanitizer, headphones, yellow highlighters, sticky notes, index cards, wide-ruled loose leaf notebook paper, dry erase markers, washable color markers, No. 2 pencils, pencil boxes, pens (black, blue, red), pocket folders, water bottle, ruler, scissors, wide-ruled notebooks, white glue, Ziplock bags, and a 3-hole zippered pouch.
Nichols and school staff know obtaining all of the supplies isn’t cheap or easy.
The school can help as much as possible, but the student having a vast majority, or all of the supplies, makes life easier for everyone at the beginning of the year.
AHS Principal Janet Crownhart knows the American society is moving to technology, but old-fashioned school supplies are still a necessity.
“High school kids try to hide it more than anybody. They’ll walk in on the first day with maybe a pen or pencil stuck in their pocket. They try to act cool like they don’t need supplies because everything is done on a Chromebook,” Crownhart said. “But let’s face it, although a lot of their stuff is done on a Chromebook, having a place to take notes, or having folders and binders to put written assignments in is huge.
“Some students really do try how to figure out life without asking for help. It’s really hard from a school’s standpoint when we have stuff waiting for someone to use, but the items are used. We might have a binder that’s in really good shape, but the kids don’t want to use it because it was someone else’s first. They want something new.”
Crownhart added that AHS teachers and aides do remind students that there are supplies they can use if they don’t have them and need them.
With Fritts’ School Supply Drive, maybe the occurrences of students not having what they need are decreased.
“Our district has the community qualification for free and reduced lunches next year. Everyone will have that, and it tells you there is definitely a need for help in the community,” Nichols said. “I really appreciate Representative Bradley Fritts for doing this. It’s the first time I’ve had a politician do something like this. It’s nice to have a local, elected official do this type of stuff and help out kids.”