After hearing their principal ring a bell, more than 300 Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School students gathered outside on their second day of school.
They were greeted outside by their school staff waving foam fingers and pom-poms on a red carpet, a DJ playing music and Temple University’s mascot, Hooter the Owl.
The celebration was to highlight the relationship between the neighboring schools, and to give Dunbar students gifts from the university.
Temple’s Board of Trustees donated backpacks filled with school supplies to the students.
Temple student-athletes from field hockey, tennis, women’s rowing and women’s lacrosse teams helped distribute the backpacks. The backpacks included handwritten notes of encouragement from Beasley School of Law students, who had helped assemble them in preparation for the event.
The gift also promised 50 new calculators and new recess equipment like playground balls, jump ropes and hula-hoops, arriving later this month.
Dawn Moore, Dunbar’s principal, said the students between Temple and Dunbar have a “natural relationship.”
“The students are going to be excited,” she added about the donation.
Lucy Reed, a junior public relations major and women’s field hockey player, said that such a project was one of Temple’s student-athletes goals for the year.
“We really want to be involved in our community as much as possible,” she added.
Trustee Daniel Pollett and Mitch Morgan, the board’s chairman, attended the event.
After a speech from Moore, students were called by grade to receive their new backpacks. From there, students were ushered to the school’s auditorium, where they heard from William Hite, school district superintendent of Philadelphia, and Temple’s President Richard Englert.
Englert told the students they were an outstanding neighbor to Temple University.
“You the students of Dunbar, you are the future of this city,” he said.
Joyce Wilkerson, president of Philadelphia’s board of education, followed Englert’s speech.
“It takes an entire community in order to have a successful system of public education,” she said.
Nazir Key, a Dunbar student, spoke briefly and thanked his teachers for the event.
Anisa Davis, an eighth-grader at Dunbar, said that she was happy about the event.
“I want to go to Temple one day,” she added.
Eric Becoats, Philadelphia school district assistant superintendent, said partnerships between institutions like Temple and Dunbar are overwhelmingly positive for both parties.
“We are very blessed and fortunate to have fostered this relationship with Temple, and hope to see it continue for years to come,” he added.