AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School is one out of only14 schools across the U.S. selected to receive $20,000 from Box Tops for Education.
“I actually asked them, ‘Is this like twenty thousand dollars worth of credit in Box Tops?’” said Emily Driggers, the principal of A.R. Johnson. “And they said, ‘No ma’am, it’s cold hard cash,” and I said ‘Wow! What can we do with twenty thousand dollars?!’”
They came up with the redesign of the school’s media center into a “library learning commons.”
“We just want to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of a 21st Century learner,” said Laurie Grove, the media specialist at A.R. Johnson. “That they’re able to come and collaborate in a way that they cannot do now because we are so limited by the fixed, heavy shelving and by having the computer stations. They can’t come together.”
“We collaborate by coming in the media center and measuring,” said Kailey Hester, a student at A.R. Johnson. “We also research on different websites and find furniture to put in the media center, and by budgeting together.”
“We just have to understand each other more often and not get feelings hurt over certain things because we need to get it done sooner or later,” said Scereil Owens, another student at A.R. Johnson.
The Education Trust states that students in high poverty districts get $1,000 less per student in state and local funding than students in wealthy districts.
Based on this, Box Tops identified A.R. Johnson as a school in need.
“I’m really excited about how engaged some of them have gotten and how excited they are about this opportunity,” said Elaine Ward, a STEM Teacher at A.R. Johnson. “Because how many times do students actually get to design something in a school?”
Principal Driggers said how grateful everyone at the school is for the funds.
“We are so, so very excited and are most fortunate that Box Tops included our school, A.R. Johnson, in this endeavor,” she said.
3D models and blueprints for the new media center are expected to be completed by the first week of April.