A ceremony to celebrate this surprise donation was held today at 11 a.m. at the school, located at 301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., in Dillon, S.C.
Sagus President and Chief Executive Officer Darryl Rosser was inspired to make this significant donation after hearing the story of JV Martin 8th grader Ty’Sheoma Bethea.
Ty’Sheoma captivated the nation with her passionate plea to President Barack Obama to improve the condition of her 113-year old school. President Obama invited Ty’Sheoma to his Feb. 24 address to Congress, where she sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama and listened as the President read aloud from her letter.
“I was so impressed by Ty’Sheoma’s courage and passion for her school,” Darryl Rosser said. “I knew my company had to step in to help. We can’t rebuild the school, but we can provide our expertise by replacing JV Martin’s old and damaged furniture with new desks and chairs that meet the needs of 21st century students. We hope that our donation will be the first step in giving Ty’Sheoma and her classmates the learning environment they deserve.”
In recent weeks, Rosser met with JV Martin Principal Amanda Burnette, School District Superintendent Ray Rogers and South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex to discuss how Sagus could help. Sagus worked closely with school leaders to plan this donation.
“This is really a wonderful gesture, and it couldn’t come at a more important time or at a more symbolic place,” said Jim Rex, South Carolina’s State Superintendent of Education. “It raises the bar for what our expectations should be in every school.”
For more than 40 years, the Sagus group of companies has supplied furniture for elementary and secondary schools across the United States. A year ago, the company’s leaders challenged themselves to focus on a mission that goes beyond simply selling furniture. By engaging directly with educators, Sagus learned more about the challenges facing today’s schools. The company has continued to enhance its products to be more flexible, affordable and environmentally-friendly.
Sagus is committed to developing model 21st century schools. By improving learning environments, Sagus is boosting student learning and achievement. Its pilot program to remake two Chicago classrooms has earned praise from now-Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Four trucks with more than 2000 pieces of furniture traveled from Texas and Chicago to Dillon, arriving on Saturday, May 2. A crew of 25 workers supplied by Sagus’s South Carolina dealer, Nu-Idea School Supply Company, spent the weekend removing all of the school’s old furniture (which will be recycled and used in future Sagus products) and replacing them with new Sagus furniture.
JV Martin now has state-of-the-art, ergonomic and environmentally-friendly Sagus desks, chairs, cafeteria tables and seating that are designed to fit today’s students and foster collaborative learning. The remodeled cafeteria, a highlight of this effort, includes specially-designed tables that feature JV Martin’s school colors and mascot.
At JV Martin, Sagus wants to go beyond just transforming the learning environment. Sagus hopes that its donation will inspire educators, school boards, other industry providers and the community to collaborate on improving educational outcomes. Sagus recognizes that its work is just the first step in totally transforming JV Martin.
“JV Martin still needs a new facility,” Rosser said. “Our hope is that the new furniture will provide a more conducive environment for learning while the new facilities are planned, funded and developed. The furniture we are now supplying can then be transferred to a new facility.”
This donation would not have been possible without the generous support and donations of Sagus’s partners:
- Nu-Idea School Supply Company, the exclusive dealer for Sagus in South Carolina, donated the installation labor with a crew of 25 workers.
- Landstar System, Inc., of Jacksonville, FL, provided an in-kind donation of its transportation logistics services.
- Trinity Express Inc., of Lewisville, TX, provided an in-kind donation of its transportation logistics services.
- Facility Concepts, Inc., of Indianapolis, IN, provided in-kind painting, design and logo-development services for the cafeteria makeover.