Petersburg Public Schools receive $35K donation

The money will go towards schools’ staff and student’s needs.
Medicaid Healthcare Plan Provider Anthem HealthKeepers Plus surprised school leaders with a $35,000 thousand dollar check on Tuesday.
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 4:52 PM EDT
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PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - What was supposed to be an ordinary principal workshop turned into quite a surprise for Petersburg Public School leaders.

Medicaid Healthcare Plan Provider Anthem HealthKeepers Plus surprised school leaders with a $35,000 check on Tuesday.

“At first, we had no idea what was going on,” Cool Spring Elementary School Principal Jennifer Kelley said. “It just means a lot to all of the principals, the students, the staff, and families.”

$25,000 worth of gift cards will be distributed to principals for staff and students’ needs.

Nearly 75 percent of Petersburg students are economically disadvantaged.

Superintendent Dr. Julius Hamlin says that the need has grown tremendously due to the pandemic.

“The need for food, clothing, basic necessities for support. It may be a light bill,” Hamlin said.

Kelley says she plans to put the funding towards staff incentives.

“Our staff has put in so much time, energy, work [and] money out of their own pockets, so we want to be able to give back to our staff because we couldn’t do this without them,” Kelley said.

$10,000 is being used to pay for the school division’s new furniture donated by Anthem about a month ago.

Hamlin says it’s helping to bring new life to classrooms.

“Each one of our schools has had the opportunity to be furnished with desks, chairs and conference room tables,” Hamlin said.

President of Anthem HealthKeepers Plus, Jennie Reynolds, says the goal is to address and close health equity gaps in vulnerable communities.

“If we’re not supporting our kids, we’re not looking ahead. So many of these children are our recipients, and we want to help them break that cycle,” Reynolds said.