With fewer dollar signs in mind, Gateway Mortgage Group is dedicated to stuffing a yellow Waxahachie ISD school bus full of supplies for district teachers.

Matt Authier, a former WISD trustee and current loan originator at Gateway, expressed the importance of offsetting expenses faced by WISD teachers.

“People are coming to Waxahachie because of our great school district, and we benefit as a business as a result of that, so raising supplies is the least we can do to give back to those who give so much,” Authier shared.

Authier has requested his customers, business partners and the community to donate supplies or to contribute a monetary donation to distribute supplies to all WISD campuses. All collected school supplies will also be hand-delivered by Gateway staff on Monday, Aug. 20.

Folks can donate items through the week leading up to the event or join the Gateway Mortgage Group on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 8:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. as they “stuff the bus” with supplies. The day before, Pokey O’s ice cream will be at the office from 3—5 p.m. serving free ice cream. This would also be an ideal time to drop off school supplies, Authier said.

Items requested include Kleenex boxes, dry erase markers, construction paper, scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, markers, tape, No. 2 pencils, crayons and ruled paper. Authier is requesting these items, particularly, so the teachers receive the same supplies.

According to a TIME magazine article published in 2016, most teachers spent nearly $500 that year, and 1-in-10 spent $1,000 or more. "All told, a total of $1.6 billion in school supply costs is shifted from parents — or, increasingly, from cash-strapped districts — onto teachers themselves."

Jennifer Nash is a second-grade teacher at Wilemon STEAM Academy and formerly worked at Dunaway for the past seven years. She has spent nearly $100 on composition notebooks alone.

When it comes to an elementary teacher preparing for the school year it involves several color-coded folders and notebooks for each subject. Nash affirmed organization is vital.

“I’ve bought composition books for English/language arts, science, social studies and math. There’s only one of them on the school supply list, but I buy five class sets of those. So, I’ve already spent probably $90 on that.”

Then there are extra markers, crayons and supplies, Nash elaborated, adding her mother is always on the lookout out for the best deals and her church has even stepped in to provide some supplies as well.

“Not every kid comes to school prepared, and so you want them to feel included. It’s all a big family, and it doesn’t matter what you have, and if you don’t it’s fine, we’ve got you covered. And, I want my kids to have the same things because it makes it easy on me,” Nash explained.

In her transition from Northside to the STEAM Academy, Nash has also found that there were a few extra items to purchase like a graphing notebook, though her annual supplies remained largely the same.

Jenny Bridges, WISD Director of Communications, stated, "We are so appreciative of any community group that recognizes the amazing work that our teachers do every day. Gateway Mortgage Group and everyone who donates to the Stuff the Bus event is making a huge difference for our teachers as they begin a new year."

If anyone has any questions, do not hesitate to email Matt Authier at Matt.Authier@GatewayLoan.com.

“With school starting that following week, we want our teachers and staff to feel the love and support that we have for them, to give them that extra boost as they prepare to welcome students back into the classroom,” Authier emphasized.

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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450