If you were a teacher, and you lost it all, what would you miss the most? This was the question that members of a local organization asked themselves and then used their answers to benefit others. The Thomson chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority of women educators, decorated and filled canvas tote bags with materials such as lesson plans, curriculum, bulletin board materials and forms.
Robin Dudley, president of Thomson ADK and teacher at Thomson High School, said every October, ADK focuses on encouraging new or retired teachers. This year, Mrs. Dudley said the sorority decided to focus on others who were feeling pain.
Local ADK members pose with their donated items.
"We immediately thought of those in the Gulf regional area, and imagined ourselves in their position," Mrs. Dudley said.
The ADK teachers created 50 bags to reflect different subject areas, and asked local teachers to donate items that they could not live without as a teacher.
"There are 32 members of our organization, but the whole system got involved. More than 60 teachers participated," Mrs. Dudley said.
The tote bags were decorated by teachers of each discipline. Twenty of the bags were painted by Ericka Vasquez, a 2005 graduate of Thomson High School. Teachers who donated items for the bags also included a personal note with their email address in case the recipient should need additional help.
Mrs. Dudley said lesson plans, activities, and supplies to support curriculum were included in each bag. The goal was to deliver the bags before the Christmas holiday break, so the teachers could look at the materials before they started back to school.
"It was not a supply bag, it was more like a personal curriculum bag," Mrs. Dudley said.
Mrs. Dudley's husband, Mike, personally delivered the bags to Biloxi, Miss. The bags were donated to Lopez Elementary School, which is one block from the water front in Biloxi; and to Biloxi High School
"As soon as he got there, they called me, amazed at the amount of materials. No two bags were alike. We have started building a relationship," Mrs. Dudley said.