Former teacher Brooke Powers is getting married soon. But instead of asking guests to buy household gifts from a wedding registry, she’s asking them to buy needy children school supplies.
Powers, who used to teach at Beaumont Middle School in Lexington, Kentucky — and who plans to return to teaching next year — is getting married to her fiancee, Kevin Cronin, on New Years’ Eve. The couple wants their wedding guests to donate to four separate public school teachers across the United States who are asking for school supplies they can provide to underprivileged students.
“My fiancee and I are older and have all the household things we need and to register for gifts just for the sake of registering for new things didn’t feel right so I asked him if he would be OK with letting teachers register for supplies instead,” Powers told the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“I decided to do this because I really miss being in the classroom and helping kids directly,” she added. “I am used to spending my summer gathering school supplies, snacks, clothing, and other things that kids may need.”
Cash-strapped teachers educating underprivileged children is likely a familiar experience for Kentucky teachers, as thousands of teachers across the commonwealth converged on the state capitol on Frankfort earlier this year demanding pay increases, retirement benefits as promised due to the commonwealth’s “inviolable contract,” and additional funding in the public education budget. A study from this spring found that 94 percent of public school teachers nationwide have to spend their own money on school supplies.
“I teach in a very rural area,” Jennifer Gasparac, a teacher at Harold Whitaker Middle School in Kentucky, told Grit Post in April. “[Governor Matt Bevin] has no idea what we deal with every day. He wants charter schools, our students don’t even have a place to lay their head. No. We teach all kids the same.”
One of the teachers Powers selected for her school supply registry was Erin Sienicki, who teaches high school students in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. One of her students, who is homeless, said one thing he appreciated the most in the past week was “the three books that we are getting” from Powers’ wedding registry.
“All the materials will be delivered to Kevin and I but we will be making sure they get to the right places. I hope you will consider donating to this worth cause,” Powers wrote on her wedding registry’s description. “Education is so very important to us.”
You can click here to see the items Powers and Cronin are asking guests to contribute, as well as the teachers who are receiving them for their own classrooms.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.