Ready to Learn: The Granite Stater Ensuring that Concord Students Have School Supplies
I am honored to recognize Caroline Keane of Concord as September’s Granite Stater of the Month. For the past eight years, Caroline has organized the Ready to Learn Fair, where Concord School District students can receive free backpacks and other school supplies.
About nine years ago, when Caroline was an education assistant for Rundlett Middle School’s autism program, she came across a young student who was attempting to carry his books in a flimsy plastic bag, crying. He was upset because the plastic bag — his makeshift backpack — had torn open.
She began raising money to purchase school supplies and reaching out to local businesses and organizations to donate materials or provide free services.
Over the past eight years, the Ready to Learn Fair has expanded beyond just school supplies and has become an essential part of the school’s community. At the fair, the New England School of Barbering provides free haircuts — and there is a long line for this every year. Caroline also works to bring representatives from the district’s Free and Reduced Lunch program to the fair so that families can sign up their kids. Last year, families could get their COVID-19 vaccines, and this year she is collecting winter supplies such as coats and hats for students in need. After the fair, Caroline stores any leftover supplies in a closet at the school, so that students can access the supplies throughout the year.
After seeing a need in her community, Caroline took action to make sure that students, regardless of their family’s income, are prepared for school — helping students succeed and alleviating parents’ stress.
Even beyond this impact, Caroline’s initiative brought her community together, from volunteers, to small business owners, to the school’s maintenance team, to donors.
Caroline’s initiative represents the Granite State spirit of taking care of your neighbors and bringing people together for a common goal, and I commend her for her work.