Cosby student collects supplies for Beulah

A Cosby High School student has started what she hopes will be a lasting partnership between her school and Beulah Elementary School.

Laura McClaugherty, a senior at Cosby High, decided to collect school supplies for Beulah Elementary at part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. The Gold Award is similar to the Boy Scout Eagle Award. Janet McClaugherty, Laura’s mother, said Girl Scout Gold Award projects should involve an ongoing element.  

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher when I grew up,” Laura said. She’s done service projects for Beulah Elementary, which was recently named the National Title I School in Virginia, in the past, she said. “So I knew a little bit about Beulah from that, and I started trying to get the project together.”

“The teachers this year are really hurting for supplies,” including basic items, such as crayons and composition books, Beulah teacher Jennifer Reasoner said. When Laura and her mother presented the plan to get supplies to Beulah, “I thought this was a wonderful idea,” Reasoner said.

“Laura and her mom took off and decided to do other things in the community,” she said.

Christian Embrey, president of Cosby High’s Key Club, said the group had helped gather supplies. Math teacher Jennifer Laskowitz, the club’s sponsor, said students could go out and collect supplies from the community or collect change during lunch that would be used to buy supplies.

“We loved the idea when we heard of it,” Laskowitz said. She said she could see the supply collection as an ongoing project for the Key Club, which has 175 members.

“We got a lot more stuff than I thought we were going to get,” Christian said.

Though Girl Scouts aren’t allowed to solicit money for their Gold Award projects, the Key Club can raise money to buy supplies for the project, Janet McClaugherty said. A lot of people donate supplies, she said, but they may not necessarily donate everything the school needs, so the cash donations can help fill in the gaps.

Overall, the response has been good, Laura said. There’d been a great response from the Key Club, and one man had brought in a truckload of supplies to donate.

Reasoner said about $1,200 in supplies had been collected; that should last the rest of the school year.

“It was like Christmas for our teachers to go up there and get supplies that they needed for their students,” she said.

Ted Salmon, Cosby High School’s director of student activities, said he’d worked with Laura and her mother on the project. He attended Beulah Elementary “way back in the 1950s.”

“I think it’s a really exciting thing to have Laura want to do it for Beulah,” Salmon said. He said he hoped the effort was something Cosby High and Beulah Elementary could partner on every year.

Laura also volunteers at Beulah Elementary, putting together materials for students so teachers can devote more time to teaching, Reasoner said. Laura said it felt nice that several teachers at Beulah Elementary had recognized the fact that she’d helped get the supplies.

“The teachers feel the need more than anyone else,” she said. “It’s nice to know I helped.”

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