By GABRIELLA CRUZ-MARTÍNEZ
Every Kozminski Elementary School student received free school supplies and uniforms for the 2018 to 2019 school year thanks to a generous $15,000 donation from T-Mobile. The school administration celebrated the donation with a “Back-To-School Bash” in partnership with T-Mobile, Tutoring Chicago and other local organizations on Aug. 23 at the school, 936 E. 54th St.
“The T-Mobile Foundation is committed to getting involved with our community by fostering initiatives that help children have a positive experience in school and get the tools they need for academic success,” said Matt Cantu, spokesperson for T-Mobile. “Our Back-To-School initiative gives us the opportunity to give back to families and children. We are happy to be at Kozminski, meet everyone and give kids what they need to start off the year right.”
In addition to receiving school supplies and uniforms by T-Mobile, the Back-To-School Bash also provided Kozminksi students with free immunizations, dental sealants and lead screenings courtesy of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Care Van program.
The young participants, eager to start off the new school year, filled their new T-Mobile tote-bags with notebooks, crayons and all the supplies they could need to begin classes. The event, held on the school playground, had live music with a DJ, snacks, a face-painting station, cotton candy and games for the children to enjoy as they ended the summer.
Meanwhile, visitors made their way through the different kiosks which offered anything from school supplies to information about the school’s variety of After School Programs.
Tutoring Chicago, an organization that provides free one-to-one tutoring for elementary children in economically disadvantaged communities, was at the event celebrating its new partnership with Kozminski. This year, the tutoring program is making its debut in Hyde Park and will serve from the school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“We’re excited to start our partnership with Kozminski Community Academy this school year and eventually branch out to serve other schools in the Hyde Park neighborhood,” said EL Da’ Sheon Nix, Tutoring Chicago’s Community Relations Director. “Tutoring Chicago is a positive outlet where students can get the important resources they need to stay on track in school. Our station at Kozminski has an opening for 150 students and we are seeking volunteers to help with tutoring throughout the year. Students from other schools are welcome to register for our tutoring services at Kozminski.”
Other after-school programs at Kozminski include opportunities to join MetroSquash, a year-round program that combines squash, academics and mentoring life skills development opportunities to teach youth how to be healthy and learn responsibility through the fast-paced game of squash.
“We like to look at our students as a whole, you don’t have to be an experienced athlete to join MetroSquash,” said Fitness Director Tarina Bradshaw. “You just have to have a willingness to have fun and learn.”
“It all started with a phone call,” said Kozminski Principal Bernadette Glover. “T-Mobile told us they wanted to partner with a school that met with our demographics to help our children get the school year started. It was the luckiest phone call we’ve gotten and we are so thankful for their contribution to our young future leaders. We’re actively working on making this school a better place for our kids through after school programming, our new partnership with Tutoring Chicago and more. We couldn’t be happier to see this come to life today.”
The school administration also announced the opening of a new full-day kindergarten classroom, with a registration capacity of 20 students.
“We will still have two half-day kindergarten programs open, but we’re aiming to have each one become a full-day program as we move forward in the upcoming years,” said Glover.
During the activities, Kozminski received a few new students as families visited the event to register their kids in the school.
Immanuel Karunakaran visited the Back-To-School Bash with his wife Cynthia and children after hearing the music from their home nearby. The new Hyde Park residents had recently moved from India to the states this summer and were looking for schools for their youngest daughter Meryl.
“We just registered our daughter to the new pre-k class,” said Immanuel. “Now we’re going to explore what the school has to offer through the different stations. We’re happy the school is so close to home and that she will be getting all the materials she needs to start the semester in this event today.”
Sharise Sparks, a new Kindergarten teacher at Kozminski that was near the family added, “I’m really excited to meet my new students and being the school year.”
For more information about volunteer opportunities at Tutoring Chicago, visit www.tutoringchicago.org/. For more information about Kozminski Community Academy, or to schedule a tour of the school, call 773-535-0980.