There is just something uniquely magical when you cross the bridge in the far end of New Hanover County into Carolina Beach. As if Snows Cut instantly transports you to your very own Neverland. Though the area is still a part of New Hanover County the area provides an identity of its own separate from the rest of our coastal community. There is nowhere on the island where that magic lives more than off of Atlanta Avenue at Carolina Beach Elementary School.
Like many schools across our community, Carolina Beach Elementary has been greatly affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Teachers and students started the year navigating through remote instruction and learning new techniques and skills for teaching online. Though the school and staff have been experiencing the same struggles faced by many of our schools, Carolina Beach has a secret weapon that has allowed them to flourish in these extraordinary circumstances; strong Pleasure Island community partnerships.
When schools were shutting down in the spring of 2020 former Carolina Beach Elementary student and present Ashley High School student, Blaine Mays started two businesses. One he used as a fundraiser to raise money for the Sea Stars. Mays who had been selling and designing farmhouse swings donated one to the school to raise funds for students during the holiday. After connecting with Island Beverages Owner and Manager Jenny Monk, the two sold raffles in the fall raising nearly $3,000.00 to support families who have children who need academic support during remote learning and support families during the holiday season.
Island Beverages and Blaine Mays are not the only ones whose generosity has made a difference to the students of Carolina Beach, other Island organizations have chipped in to donate and support the school as well. The Pleasure Island Disaster Relief and several churches on the island have donated funds to supplement child care scholarships for families during remote learning.
“The difference that it has made for these kids and these families is incredible and it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.” stated Carolina Beach Elementary Principal, Deanna Leake “It has been able to provide continuity to their education, and I can’t thank the community enough for making that happen for our students.”
In addition to the financial donations that the school has received in the wake of COVID, Carolina Beach Elementary also got a library makeover. Members of Lifepoint Church volunteered their time to paint walls and a literary mural is being designed on the walls by Ashley High School student Chandler Ivey. Donations of new whiteboard desks, chairs, lego wall, magnetic wall, and a RecordX were all provided by the Island Men and Women organizations.
“Having all these new materials has really given our community here at Carolina Beach Elementary the ability to thrive, the media center is really seen as a place for us to gather and collaborate and the children definitely see that and feel that.” says librarian Kristin Bazemore
For any organization looking to donate further resources to Carolina Beach Elementary, you may contact the school social worker, Wendy Ivey. New Hanover County Schools is looking to establish strong partnerships at many other schools across the district, if you are interested in committing your time, resources or finances to a school in our community reach out to Caress Clegg, email@example.com, 910-254-4319 in the Communications & Outreach Division.