El Dorado community offers support for students, teachers

The El Dorado, Arkansas community is banding together to support education to help grow their future through many avenues.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 4:31 PM CDT
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EL DORADO, Ark. (KNOE) - Parents and teachers are struggling as prices rise for back-to-school supplies and clothes.

Jennifer Lee, the El Dorado School District’s Special Programs Director, understands how parents and teachers are on a tight budget. A few years ago, the district decided to do something to help.

“They now provide all school supplies for kindergarten through fourth-grade students,” Lee said.

Through help from the local Walmart, they are able to purchase school supplies for the kids.

The district has a grant that is currently providing breakfast and lunches for all the students to help parents with food budgets.

Nationwide, teachers have also had a tough time.

”You’ll hear about teachers and you’ll hear, you know, about morale issues,” Lee explained.

In El Dorado’s district, people have started groups on Facebook where teachers post their want lists and the community can help.

Businesses have also been coming to help support education in the area. Murphy Oil started its promise to the district in 2006 to provide scholarships to graduates from El Dorado’s district. Jennifer Jones of Supreme Lending in El Dorado started a school supply drive.

“We just want to give back to the community during the pandemic and stuff like that. People just have some really hard times and we just want to help,” Jones said.

Other organizations are helping in other ways. Last year, the El Dorado Service League started the WildCutz event, providing haircuts to kids in Union County with 50 local hairstylists. They expect around 200 kids to come with families to get styling for the new school year. The event is at the TAC House on Aug. 21 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Families are not the only ones looking forward to the event.

“I’m excited too, especially, you know, when it’s them and their brother and their sister and they’re excited, and they’re all getting their hair cut, and it’s just a fun experience,” said Holly Langston, of Almost Blonde Hair Salon.

Lee says support from the community is appreciated and she wants to make sure people know how grateful they are.

“We know that the local businesses support teachers and are committed. When we know that parents want to do right by their kids and they want to support their own students, it makes me feel so grateful,” Lee said.

The programs have been so influential that some of the Murphy Oil Promise recipients have returned to the area and have become teachers themselves.

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