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ROTARY EAST GOING TO SCHOOL — BEARING GIFTS

Aug. 25, 2002 — When 200 first graders at six St. Thomas elementary schools return to classes on Tuesday, they'll get a gift from Rotary Club of St. Thomas East: a pack of school supplies, a book and a letter to their families encouraging the grown-ups to read to their children.
"The kids were very pleased" by last year's Rotary East distribution of back-to-school bags, Peace Corps Elementary School paraprofessional Providencia Morales said.
Rotary East member Michael Uhlig, who heads the program, said some children go back to school without the pencils, pens and notebooks that give them a good start on the year. The back-to-school bag also includes items such as paint boxes to encourage creativity, as well as such necessities as a pencil sharpener, glue stick, scissors, bookmark and a scratch pad.
The Rotary bags go to all students in a class. "No kid is left out," Uhlig said.
Since St. Thomas has hundreds of first graders, Rotary East members picked schools that had the number of students that added up to the number of back-to-school bags they could afford to fund.
In addition to Peace Corps, Jane E. Tuitt, Evelyn Marcelli, Leonard Dober, Edith Williams and Ulla Muller Elementary Schools were chosen. Uhlig said the Rotary group hopes to add two schools a year to the program, which started in 1999.
A total of 20 Rotary East members will be on the teams that will be heading off to classes on the first day of school, he said.

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