By Rebecca Jones

Appreciative smiles seemed to be official look on the faces of Seaford School District teachers as they engaged with members of Unified Seaford and each other during the “Stuff the Bus” initiative held Friday, Aug. 18 at the Seaford High School. The teachers loaded up on much-needed items for their classrooms – items usually bought at their own expense.

Third grade teacher at Frederick Douglass – Julianna Genshaw – said she “didn’t even know it was a thing.” Then she joked, “You can take this bus to my classroom!”

West Seaford first grade teachers Danielle Leyanna and Alex Jewell posing with their bags of school supplies during Unified Seaford’s “Stuff the Bus” initiative. Photo by Rebecca Jones

Arlene Thomas, was all smiles as she exited the bus, holding a selection of supplies. Thomas, an educator entering her 19th year in the comprehensive program with the middle school stated, “I love it, I love it, I love it! I want to say thank you to those who organized this day and I hope my fellow educators and their students have a safe and blessed year.”

One of the Unified Seaford members who co-organized the event, Mike Greenlief, associate pastor at Atlanta Road Alliance Church, gave Thomas a hug and then explained the mission of the project. “We want to build a bridge between the two entities. We want to state that what teachers do matters, and they are a part of the greater solution to make Seaford better,” he said.

Danielle Leyanna and Alex Jewell, both first grade teachers at West Seaford, busily poured over the items, arranged accordingly in separate seats of the bus. They both expressed their appreciation for the event. “There’s never enough supplies, especially when there are so many littles,” Leyanna said.

Items were still being brought to assist teachers in their work by 10:30 that morning. Teachers were lining up at 11:40. The items ranged from pens, staplers, daily planners, and maps, to $50 gift cards. There was no limit placed upon what teachers were allowed to take with them for their classrooms. It was a quick turn-around from planning stage to completion – it took four to six weeks to make the project happen.

Pastor Jeff Johnson said he appreciated the “energy of teachers as they were able to partake of the outreach. It’s fantastic to start the new school year with excitement.”

Lead pastor of Atlanta Road Alliance Church, Weldon Lemke, said what would happen to the supplies not taken that day. “Left over supplies will go to school supply lockers for teachers who couldn’t make it today,” he said. 

When asked, those in attendance expressed a hope that the event would continue next year. Various ministers from Unified Seaford were overheard talking about how to improve upon this year and help it grow into an annual event.