Record editorial: School starts Thursday. Let’s make sure every student is ready to learn.
Come Thursday, students in Park City will return to class.
And while much of the conversation surrounding the new academic year has revolved around the coronavirus pandemic and schools’ reopening plans — rightly so — the Christian Center of Park City is focused on another important back-to-school topic: ensuring underserved children have new clothes and supplies so they can start the year on the right foot alongside their peers.
But the nonprofit can’t shoulder the task alone. The Christian Center is seeking donations for its annual Back 2 School Basics event, slated to run Monday through Wednesday. As they have in the past, Parkites should back the effort: Every child in the community, regardless of socio-economic background, deserves to feel special and ready to learn when they walk into class for the first time.
In some ways it might be easy this year to dismiss the push to provide back-to-school items as small potatoes. The pandemic has wrought immense suffering in the community, leaving hundreds of local families struggling to make ends meet. In recent months, many philanthropic efforts have centered on helping these families pay their bills and keep food on the table.
With these more pressing problems expected to linger in Park City as long as the financial downturn persists, why should Parkites put their weight behind Back 2 School Basics? Haven’t children always had to make do with hand-me-downs?
The reality is that, for the students who rely on Back 2 School Basics, the event is essential. For one, the families in Park City hit hardest by the pandemic are precisely those whose children will be participating. Second, there is evidence to suggest a student who feels confident — and for children, clothing is undoubtedly a major component of confidence — performs better in the classroom. The phenomenon makes intuitive sense: In sports, it’s summed up like this: Look good, feel good, play good.
That’s not to mention the other crucial element of Back 2 School Basics: supplies. Without the event, the unfortunate truth is that some students wouldn’t be equipped with necessities like backpacks, pencils and notebooks when they take their seats in the classroom.
For years, the community has stepped up every August to support these students. Even though there are other urgent needs right now that also need Parkites’ attention, let’s do it once again.
Even in a pandemic, the first day of school is a treasured thing. In a community like ours, especially, a student’s ability to approach it with confidence shouldn’t hinge on whether their family can afford a back-to-school shopping spree.
For information about Back 2 School Basics, or to donate, visit the Christian Center’s website at ccofpc.org.
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Our view: The school year has so far been a success, but the coronavirus, more than the school district, may have the ultimate say about what the next chapter looks like.