Shawnee schools helping students with school supplies on heels of devastating flood

School supplying students after flood

WOLF LAKE, Ill. (KFVS) - The Shawnee School District #84 is giving school supplies to all grades, Pre-K through 12 this year.

It was registration day for Shawnee schools on Monday. As parents register their kids, they could pick out any school supplies they need for the upcoming school year.

“We’ve got lots of donations here so they can come in and get what they need,” Shawnee Elementary School Principal Amy Reynolds said.

Many organizations, businesses and residents in the community have stepped up and donated school supplies to the school for students this year.

This comes on the heels of a major flooding event that has affected many of the students over summer break. The water has now receded leaving behind heavy damage to homes, businesses and roads.

“They’re just now getting in, if they can get back, to their homes,” Reynolds said. “Some of them are having to take care of the mold issue or look for some other kind of housing because it’s just not livable.”

The Shawnee School District serves students from Alexander, Union and Jackson counties and educates about 330 students total with 165 of those being in the elementary level.

Reynolds said roughly half of the elementary students were living in the flood stricken area. She mentioned the school district wanted to make sure they eased the minds of the families and students as much as possible as they prepare for their first day in the classroom.

“We don’t want that to be a worry for our families,” Reynolds conveyed. “They school supplies are costly so we don’t want that to be a worry for our families.”

Many of the families are now assessing the damages left behind from the high floodwaters. The summer for these students did not go as planned as many of the families and students helped fight and donate their time and energy against the devastating waters.

“We had some of the Junior/Senior High [students] show up everyday; and the elementary students as well,” Reynolds mentioned. “They would fill boxes and they would help deliver boxes. It was amazing with how they spent their summer.”

While some students are tired, worried and depleted from the flood event, they are coming back to school, seeing familiar faces and embracing the help and comfort of their school community.

Reynolds said regardless of what they’ve endured over the summer, it’s always welcoming to see her students and their smiling faces.

"To see them come back and they're so excited to see you. It's just a feeling you can't express," Reynolds added. "You just can't explain what that feels like. It's amazing!"

Reynolds did say she was initially concerned how the impact from the flood could cause families to move elsewhere, however, she was surprised to see so many enroll this year in the elementary school.

"I was really worried that we would lose families," Reynolds continued. "However, we didn't lose any and we are up on attendance for the elementary level."

The school district is open on Tuesday, August 6 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for registration. During that time, students and families are allowed to pick out whatever school supplies they need.

Reynolds also stated that they are continuing to receive donations from community members, organizations and businesses. She said if anyone needs any supplies from now until the first day of school, she urges them to call the school to set up a time to get them.

“This is a family, Shawnee is a family and this area is a family,” Reynolds stated. “We take care of one another so if we have a need in one community, the other one steps up.”

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