Students of Wiscasset Elementary School filled their backpacks for the fast approaching school year with things like pencils, erasers, glue sticks, notebooks, scissors and more, all given away free Sunday afternoon. The program, now in its fourth year and known as “Set For Success,” was sponsored by Feed Our Scholars through St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on Hodge Street and offered to all pre-k through fifth grade students.
After registering in the school’s gymnasium, students were given a “shopping list” compiled by their classroom teachers. First on the list was a brand new red backpack to pack everything into. Students then went around the gym starting at the school supplies table that was brimming with just about everything needed for the coming school year. The first day of school is Tuesday, Sept. 6.
Gretchen Burleigh-Johnson and Mary Coventry, two of the event’s organizers, were happy with the large turnout as they were watching and directing parents and children who were making their way around the gym. Both women told Wiscasset Newspaper the event is more than simply providing students with needed school supplies. This year, students could get a free haircut, and parents could meet with a number of community partners including first responders from the Wiscasset police and fire departments. Other groups with information tables included Chewonki, Morris Farm, Healthy Lincoln County, Healthy Kids, Midcoast Literacy, Head Start, Wiscasset Community Center and Wiscasset Public Library.
Hairstylists Shawna Roy, Lori Williams and Patti-Jo Averill were pretty busy throughout the afternoon providing free haircuts to the girls and boys in the school’s hallway. Roy and Williams were representing Hair Creations of Bath and Radiant River Room of Newcastle respectively. Averill owns Pat’s Barber Shop on Water Street, Wiscasset.
“Last year because of the pandemic we just purchased the school supplies and had the teachers distribute them. But the idea was always to make this a community event,” Coventry explained. She said she was grateful to the WES administration and the many volunteers for making the event so successful.
WES Principal Kathleen Pastore greeted each of the students in the front lobby. “It’s my first Set For Success event and it’s been wonderful seeing how excited the children are to be here.”
On their way out, parents could help themselves to freshly picked, organically grown vegetables provided by Twin Village Foodbank Farm and cold sandwiches were available from Healthy Lincoln County which had a truck parked outside the school’s front entrance.
Feed Our Scholars held fundraisers in support of this year’s event including a bake sale on July 9, hosted by Ames True Value on Route 1 and a fish chowder takeout dinner at St. Philip’s in March.
Want to help? Donations can be mailed to St. Philip's Church, 12 Hodge St., Wiscasset, ME 04578. Please note "Feed Our Scholars" or "Set for Success" on the memo line. You can also buy items and leave them in boxes at St. Philip’s Church hall also at 12 Hodge St., Wiscasset or, visit the group’s Amazon wish list at tinyurl.com/S4SWES2022 where supplies can be bought. To learn more log on to https://feedourscholars.wordpress.com, or the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WiscassetFeedOurScholars/, or call St. Philip’s at 882-7184, leaving a brief message with a return number and name.