Pencils Needed! Give Kids in a Small Louisiana Town Writing Supplies

Support amazing teachers through TakePart’s Great Back-to-School Challenge this September!
A small donation can help students in Louisiana have a good day at school. (Photo: Copyright by June Marie Sobrito)
Sep 3, 2012
Kelly Zhou has written on a variety of topics for TakePart, predominantly politics, education, and wildlife.

[Update] Thank you so much to everyone who donated! The Louisiana school project has just been funded, but there is another teacher that urgently needs your help buying music instruments for her students at a high-poverty school in Ohio.

Mrs. Batdorf's middle school students have a passion for music, but are stuck using old, worn-out instruments. While there is much support in the community for music education, funding is not adequate. Students share instruments, most of which are over 20 years old, and the little budget they have is spent on reeds and repairs.

You can purchase a new trombone for her students through DonorsChoose:

In Ms. Tabitha Rojas’ first-grade class, students often come in at the beginning of the school year with worn out shoes and dirty uniforms, missing basics such as pencils and crayons.

Since many families in the high-poverty area cannot afford school supplies, it’s up to Rojas to supply the many pencils, pens, notebooks, school bags and other items her students need during the year. She estimated that $30 to $50 of her paycheck each month goes to school supplies. 

With DonorsChoose, you can help her purchase these much-needed writing supplies:


Rojas’ school Hopkins Street Elementary sits in the middle of New Iberia, a small city in Louisiana, where most residents do not attend or graduate from college and the median household income is $35,000.

As the Louisiana teacher explains it, her students have “more challenges on a daily basis than some would care to believe.”

From violence and crime to sickness and family problems, Rojas notices there are issues in her students’ lives that make it far more difficult to concentrate on something like learning your ABCs.

“Many often move from place to place, never really having a true place to call home or even a bed to sleep in,” Rojas says. “Can you imagine having to come to school to learn after having all of this to deal with?”

Rojas is cognizant of the challenges her students face outside the classroom, and she loves being able to watch them grow. During a field trip to a local plantation museum, she saw her students eagerly exploring the plantation and answering the impressed tour guide’s questions.

“I was so proud that they were able to ask questions and have conversations with our guide,” Rojas wrote. “It taught me that my students do not get to experience things like this. It is an important part of my job to expose my students to as much as I can and make everything they learn relevant to them.”

As far back as Rojas can remember, she has wanted to be a teacher. Struggling with math class in high school, Rojas worked with one memorable teacher until she understood the material.

“I wanted to be the teacher that provided support to my struggling students,” Rojas says. “I knew how horrible I felt when I felt like I couldn’t succeed and I never wanted my students to feel this way.”

Show Comments ()

More on TakePart

Aaron Neville: Why I Take Part in Rebuilding New Orleans