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|CTB, Entergy team up again to help parish Pre-K program|
Community Trust Bank and Entergy have partnered again this year to provide funding for Crosley Elementary School's Pre-K program.
This marks the third year CTB and Entergy participated in the West Monroe/West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce's education initiative, called Partners Achieving Community Excellence, or PACE.
The PACE program helps families by providing funds that cover most of the expenses of Pre-K.
Money is used to help pay for school supplies, school fees and field trips for school children.
Entergy provided $1,800, and CTB provided $2,000.
Crosley principal Janice Comeaux says each year the school has children on its Pre-K waiting list. Currently there are about 25 children on Crosley's Pre-K waiting list.
"All of our Pre-K classes are full, and there are several schools still with waiting lists," said Judy Dampier, of Ouachita Parish Schools.
"We wish we could offer it in all the schools, but it's just not possible right now to get everybody," Dampier said. "This (donation) really helps out by making sure all the kids have everything they need for school."
"When you have all of your supplies, then you're happy, and it makes you a much better student," Dampier continued. "We just appreciate Community Trust Bank and Entergy tremendously. We appreciate the community always helping our schools and jumping in there to make sure every child gets a great education. "
CTB and Entergy's donations will not remove any children from Crosley's waiting list, but the donations will "help the students who are already there," Dampier said.
She said the school system's Pre-K classes have been successful in preparing young children for kindergarten.
Pre-K activities include trips to the school's library and computer labs and monthly field trips to the public library and such places as Delta Safari and the Children's Museum in Monroe.
Crosley's kindergarten teachers say children who attend Pre-K are better prepared for kindergarten and have a jump start on becoming successful learners.
Comeaux said the school is thrilled each year to have this financial commitment from Entergy and Community Trust Bank.
"We are able to offer them a Pre-K program for a very low expense, instead of the very high fees that everybody pays for their children to be in school," Comeaux explained. "We can offer them a great early childhood experience without having them cost so much that they wouldn't be involved in the program.
"Studies have shown that the earlier we get to the young children and teach them some skills, and have it fun for them, then they start enjoying school and it carries on throughout their school life."
Kenny Solley, Entergy's northeast Louisiana spokesman, said, "We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the school and the chamber to try and assist the kids. We look at it as an investment in the community, not an expense. We know we've got a lot of poverty in our area, and we figure the best way to work ourselves out of that is to address it through education. This is why we feel like it's really an investment in our educational system. It can be tough on families, and we're just glad we can help out."
CTB's Larry Emory said, "We know there is a need to help children have a good foundation for the future. That's what it's doing, preparing them to go onto Riverbend Elementary. But if they don't get a good foundation here, then they're lagging behind. We wanted to help meet the need. If it gives them a better learning environment, that's what they need to have, and that's what we want."