Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara praised Station Casinos on Tuesday for its $110,000 donation to the district, which will be divided among 11 high-risk elementary schools as part of the Smart Start program.
Each of the 11 valleywide Station properties partners with a school in need. Since its inception 18 years ago, Station Casinos has donated more than $2.8 million to the project.
The generosity doesn’t stop with the monetary donation.
Team members have led back-to-school supply drives, hosted teacher appreciation events, volunteered their time with homework assistance and hosted fifth-grade graduation parties at its various properties.
“It’s just not the financial resources, it's really also the support,” Jara said. “You hear personal stories of children who have high needs but can learn at high levels. ”
One of those stories of a struggling student was shared by Mabel Hoggard Elementary School Principal Stacey Scott-Cherry.
When the child Scott-Cherry called Jonathan was not doing his school work, school officials reached out to his mother with concerns. She disclosed the child’s father had recently died and that she was struggling to manage Jonathan and his three siblings while working full-time.
So, for as much as she wanted to help the child, her demanding scheduled left her with little she could do.
As the principal listened to the family’s story, she said the first thing that came to her mind was making sure they were included in the annual outreach from Santa Fe. The school works directly with Brittney Thomas, a human resource specialist at Santa Fe who has taken immense interest in the project.
“Jonathan doesn’t know (Thomas). His mom doesn’t know you … but it’s just so heartwarming to know somebody that you don’t know will have that done,” Scott-Cherry said.
Although Jonathan was one of the cases that was highlighted, Scott-Cherry noted his was not unique. Other stories shared by principals at the 10 other schools in the Smart Start program, including a campus that had 30 students from homeless families.
“All of our schools are full of Jonathans,” Scott-Cherry said. “To know that the community cares about them and the community wants to make a difference in their lives and can make a difference in their lives is what the heart of this program is all about.”