A new school year is in full swing in Calaveras County, with Mark Twain Union Elementary School District and Vallecito Union School District the final two districts to kick off the fall semester on Aug. 21.
At Mark Twain Elementary School, students were greeted by new principal Gary Pogue, with a reminder to keep smiling.
Days earlier, the school received boxes upon boxes of backpacks, personalized pencil cases and other school supplies from representatives of Wyndham Angels Camp.
Local moms and Wyndham employees Carlie Fries, a business operations supervisor, and Nicole Thomasy, a business operations coordinator, hatched the idea this year as a way to lift some of the financial burden from parents and teachers.
“We both wanted to give back to children in a way we knew was needed,” Fries told the Enterprise on Aug. 19. “We feel that kids should be provided with the tools they need.”
The donations were funded by Wyndham Destinations Director of Sales Bachar Albokai and Marketing Manager Sean Lagomarsino, who agreed to match $1 out of their own pockets for every tour given at the Angels Camp timeshare location.
In total, the drive raised approximately $1,140 to purchase school supplies for Mark Twain students, according to Fries.
The Angels-Murphys Rotary Club also delivered its annual supplies donation to Mark Twain, Copperopolis and Albert Michelson Elementary Schools--a tradition that began roughly four years ago, according to past president Sam Matyas. In the colder months, the club also donates coats to the local schools.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” said Principal Pogue, who added that more donations may be delivered by parents in the coming days. “It supports the school and the community.”
Pogue said the supplies will be distributed based on the needs of students, starting on the first day of school.