Student 3

A student arrives at Mark Twain Elementary School in Angels Camp on the first day of classes. 

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.


Wyndham Angels Camp employees Carlie Fries (left) and Nicole Thomasy deliver approximately 20 backpacks and other school supplies to Mark Twain Elementary School on Aug. 19, received by new principal Gary Pogue. 



Angels-Murphys Rotary Club member Sam Matyas delivers the club's annual donation of school supplies to Mark Twain Elementary.

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.


Students pose for a photo op on the first day of school at Mark Twain Elementary. 


Students meet new principal Gary Pogue.

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.


Dakota graduated from Bret Harte in 2013 and went to Davidson College, NC where she earned a bachelor's degree in Arab studies. After spending time studying in the Middle East and Europe, she is happy to be home, writing about the community she loves.

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