Local churches step up to help middle school

Published 7:30 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

VALLEY — For years, W.F. Burns Middle School has received funding from CharterBank. However, with the bank’s recent transition to CenterState Bank, it’s unclear if that funding will continue, so school leaders are reaching out to others in the community for donations.

School Principal Dr. Frankie Bell told The Valley Times-News that CharterBank always stepped up to help with funding such school events as pizza parties, awards banquets, school supplies and gift cards for students who performed good deeds during the school year.

SOME HELP FOR W.F. BURNS: On Tuesday morning, Pastor Karanja Story (far left) of Rehobeth Missionary Baptist Church, Valley, presented a check to Dr. Frankie Bell (second from left), principal of W.F. Burns, to help with such needs as awards banquets, pizza parties and student recognition.

“It may be that we are going through a transition, and the new bank will support us the same way CharterBank did,” Bell said. “We have reached out to them, but have yet to hear from them.”

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Dr. Bell said she wanted to thank local churches such as Rehoboth Missionary Baptist and Happy Valley Baptist, along with some local individuals and businesses that have stepped up to help out.

“We think it important to reward students for good behavior, attendance and achievement,” Bell said. “We are soliciting any help we can get from the community to help us do this. Some of our students have cried when their name was called on the intercom and they got a $5 gift card. Just to get some recognition for their having done something well means so much to them.”

“Without the support we used to get from CharterBank we have had to work a little harder in getting support from the community,” Bell added. “(Then-State Rep.) Isaac Whorton helped us last year. I’m praying in my office every day for people in the community to step up and help us.”

The congregation of Rehoboth Baptist Church stepped up in a big way on Sunday. Pastor Karanja Story went to the school Tuesday morning to present a check to Bell to help with such events as pizza parties, awards programs and what Bell calls the Extra Break, which is when a student is called to the office and allowed to select a prize.

“We do this if a student returns a cell phone someone lost or if they’re seen picking up litter on the campus,” Bell said.

Burns student R.J. Miller said that the Extra Break is very popular with the students. “When you do something good and get rewarded, you want to keep going good things,” he said.

“People at our church wanted to give to help the students at this school,” Pastor Story said.

The VTN reached out to CenterState Bank on Tuesday, and it was unclear if the bank would remain a Partner in Education with W.F. Burns.