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Bounty of school supplies collected in Islanders Bank's first back-to-school drive

Top photo, San Juan Island Schools Superintendent Walt Wegener checks out some of the school supplies being delivered by Brenna Woods of Islanders Bank, Monday. Middle photo, some of the bounty that will be distributed to local students. Bottom photo, district fiscal coordinator Dotty Walker likes the backpack that will be given to some lucky student.    - Scott Rasmussen
Top photo, San Juan Island Schools Superintendent Walt Wegener checks out some of the school supplies being delivered by Brenna Woods of Islanders Bank, Monday. Middle photo, some of the bounty that will be distributed to local students. Bottom photo, district fiscal coordinator Dotty Walker likes the backpack that will be given to some lucky student.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

It's a stockpile that won't last forever.

But for now, there are pens and pencils aplenty at the headquarters of the San Juan Island School District — calculators, glue sticks, backpacks and three-ring binders too — thanks to the first-ever Gear Up for Our Schools campaign sponsored by Islanders Bank.

With six cardboard boxes in tow, Carrie Brooks, Michelle Morton and Brenna Woods of Islanders Bank were greeted with open arms Monday as they delivered a bounty of assorted school supplies to the district's main office following the conclusion of the bank-sponsored school-supplies drive, which ended Friday.

"This is just incredible," said Superintendent Walt Wegener, who took over the reigns of the district following the departure of Michael Soltman earlier this summer.

Collection bins were set up at four locations in Friday Harbor and over the course of the five-week campaign a steady stream of donations followed. A wide-array of donated supplies were collected at MarketPlace, Friday Harbor Drug, the Office Center and at Islanders Bank.

"We pretty much got all the supplies we asked for," Brooks said. In addition to pencils, pens and paper, the list of sought-after items included erasers, index cards, scissors and watercolor paints; pen, thumb and flash drives; as well as rolls of clear contact paper.

Morton said the total value of donated supplies, with the exception of about $200 in cash, hasn't been tallied. Still, she said there's a good guess at its worth for students whose families may not be able to afford essential supplies, as well as for teachers and school staff who regularly dip into their own pockets to ensure all students are equipped with the supplies they need.

"I think we're just going to call it priceless," she said.

Morton and company are looking ahead to the start of the next school year given the success of the inaugural campaign.

"We plan on making it a yearly thing," she said.

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