A big surprise unfolded at Washington Elementary Thursday morning. Wal-Mart Distribution Center of Opelousas adopted the school. Each Wal-Mart facility nominates one school per year, and the struggling elementary was chosen for 2012-2013. Through the Teacher Reward Program, the retailer celebrates teachers, by helping to defray the cost of supplies and snacks for students; a cost that sometimes comes out of a teacher's own pocket.
Human Resources Manager for Wal-Mart, Vivian Dawson said it's exciting to be able to help the school. "We feel like kids, when they have the tools they need and their stomachs are full, they can do their very best."
The teachers and parent supervisors at the school were surprised with gift bags and gift cards for educational supplies. They were shocked and overwhelmed.
Marcus Leger, one said, "I believe this is wonderful. I also believe this is something this school needed."
Johnnie Fontenot, a parent volunteer, said, "It costs money to run a school. You always need supplies and everything costs, and it's wonderful that they (Wal-Mart) are giving us that financial support that we need."
The Interim Principal Pat Mason Guillory said she was excited when she was contacted about the surprise for her teachers. She said she fell in love with the school during her time there, and chose Thursday, her last acting day as principal for the surprise, so that she could help show appreciation for her staff.
Joseph Cassimere, Interim Superintendent of St. Landry Parish, also should his appreciation for the staff and Wal-Mart.
"I wish they could adopt all of our schools in our school district because we definitely need as much assistance from the community. I just want to applaud them and say thank you for a great job."