LAURINBURG —Dr. Freda Singletary said when she was in school she loved to talk.
“I could talk 500 miles a minute,” the Laurinburg native told a gymnasium full of talkative elementary students, many of whom snicked or giggled at the comment.
But Singletary said she also knew when to be quiet, listen to her teachers and do well in school.
Singletary told the students that she hoped it would be a lesson they take with them long after Saturday’s Back to School, Stay in School event was over.
“I will be starting soon with the Purcell Clinic,” said Singletary, a pediatrician. “But right now I’m on vacation. If you do well in school, you can have a two-month vacation.”
More than 500 students and parents filled the Scotland High School new gym to receive a book-bag full of school supplies during the 15th annual event. Each student received a backpack filled with pencils, notebooks, binders and other necessary utensils.
“This is my first time … I wanna get a Frozen notebook,” said Shayanne White Wellington who is going into second-grade at North Laurinburg Elementary School.
The program is led by the Scotland County of NAACP in order to provide school supplies for all students, preschool through 12th grade.
“This event gives back to the community,” said Herman Tyson, the president of Scotland County NAACP. The program provides school supplies through sponsors and donations. “We support our kids, we believe in our kids and through the sponsors that we have, we’re able to give back to the community.”
Parents began lined up about 90 minutes before the 10 a.m. program was set to begin.
“I want to make sure he gets everything he needs,” said Nathaniel Malloy in regards to his son Ellis Malloy, who is going into 11th grade at Scotland High School.
The program helps more than just students in K through 12. Sandrellis Malloy just graduated high school and is planning on going to Richmond Community College.
“I need some school supplies because you know, college is not cheap,” said Malloy. “I’m looking for pencils, paper, notebooks, binders anything that I can get basically.”
“It’s really helpful because a whole lot of college students, we need it,” she said. On top of the rate for college itself Malloy explains that the program is beneficial in providing a “good step-up” so that students can get the electronics and everything else they need to prepare them for college.
“I think it’s a good event to help the community,” said Sheanna Monroe, mother of three. It was her third time attending the event with her 4- year-old, 9-year-old and 10-year-old sons.
New this year, the program had principals and staff from each school come to the event in order to meet the students as they came through the tables and received their school supplies. During the ceremony, each principal introduced themselves.
“This is about coming back to school, this is about staying in school and this is ultimately about graduating,” said Greg Batten, Scotland High School principal.
Sponsors and volunteers were also recognized during the event.
“This year we were really fortunate and blessed,” said Alexis Tyson. “Students, parents, I just ask that you support these organizations, they have really poured a lot into everything that you see here … show them what their investment has done.”
Valerie Sinclair, president of the Alpha Alpha Phi Zeta chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, presented a $150 donation along with 200 bags of school supplies.
“This is the first of many,” Sinclair said of the gift.
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.