With school supply donations from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE), 420 students at Conestoga Elementary will be able to experience the joys of a new school year with fresh supplies.

The supplies, including notebooks, pencils, crayons and more, came from BCBSNE’s annual donation drive for Conestoga, the company’s Adopt-a-School partner.

A total of 17 classrooms received supplies, making this year the most successful in BCBSNE’s history of giving. Jennifer Everett, a BCBSNE employee and school supply drive organizer, credits the addition of classroom and teacher adoptions for the drive’s success.

In past years, individual BCBSNE employees donated school supplies on their own, Everett said. This year, BCBSNE employees had the option to adopt a classroom or teacher as a department and work together to collect a set number of items for the classroom or teacher they adopted.

By the end of the school supply drive, BCBSNE had a surplus of items, including donations, like backpacks and calculators, that weren’t on the list of required classroom or teacher adoption donations. Everett said the surplus enabled BCBSNE to set up supply stations and have students “shop” for their own supplies on Aug. 13.

When BCBSNE dropped off the supplies, each student was given a coupon with boxes to check off and walked around to the different supply stations to pick out their items. Everett said watching the students select supplies for themselves was her favorite part of the experience.

“For me, it was so wonderful to provide the students with that experience and to see them be able to pick out supplies in their favorite colors,” Everett said.

Conestoga teachers will also have the opportunity to shop for supplies of their own, Everett said. As for the extra items donated, including 70 backpacks, school administrators will store surplus donations and give them out to students in need as the year goes on. 

Principal Vanita Jarmon was very thankful for donations.