Wimauma Elementary made its list of needs for the school and checked it twice, and in the spirit of giving this holiday season, Amazon made sure students and staff ended up on the “Nice” list.
Santa, along with Amazon’s 53-foot trailer the “Caravan of Cheer,” rolled up to the school bearing gifts. Workers from the Ruskin Fulfillment Center, just down the road, surprised students and teachers with $15,000 worth of electronics, clothing and supplies.
“We’re very thankful for Amazon,” said Wimauma Elementary Principal Ismael Lebron-Bravo. “It’s a lot of excitement. It’s been a secret from the kids the whole time. We got about 75 Kindles donated for the grade levels, as well as 25 Fires that the kids can use in the classrooms.”
Amazon reached out to the Hillsborough Education Foundation last month. The organization selected the Title I school based on need. Many of the students come from low-income families.
“Basically we’re answering the wish-lists of the teachers and what the students need in our community,” said Robert Packet, general manager at Amazon’s Ruskin Fulfillment Center. “Wimauma is right in our backyard. Their parents, family, brothers and sisters, they work with us every single day. They’re a part of our family, so it’s a good opportunity for us to give back to our family.”
Amazon’s “Caravan of Cheer” is touring the country. Wimauma Elementary is one of more than 30 stops.
As the principal revealed the gifts, students gasped, yelled thank you, and started cheering. “I felt amazing that they came to our school and just surprised all of my class,” said Wimauma second-grade student, Isabella Rodriguez. “We’ll have amazing new apps that can help our knowledge. Thank you for coming to our school!”
Teachers are grateful for the supplies. “We appreciate all that they’ve done for us. We’re going to take good care of them and make sure our kids understand that these are donations and something they need to value,” said fifth-grade teacher Shawn Robinson.
“Our students are so appreciative for everything they get. So, for them to do this and see this, it’s a memory that’s going to last a lifetime for them, and they’ll want to give back to their school. We’re trying to teach that attitude of being grateful for what you get, then seeing how you can excel,” said Lebron-Bravo.