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Nice surprise awaits West St. John students

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / August 19, 1998

EDGARD – Students on the west bank of St. John the Baptist Parish got anice surprise as they returned to school Tuesday – free school supplies.

The supplies were presented to students from pre-K to 12th grade by members of Wantu Wazuri Civic and Social Club, which raised more than $2,000 for the service project.

“Vice President Charmaine Roybiskie came up with the idea,” said President Mary E. Johnson, who said the project marks the organization’ssilver anniversary. This was also the first time this project had beendone.

At West St. John Elementary, pre-K to fourth-grade students filed into aclassroom where each received a pencil box containing glue, crayons and pencils. Fifth- to eighth-graders received spiral-bound tablets,highlighter pens, pens and looseleaf paper.

At West St. John High School, students received looseleaf paper, pens,pencils and highlighter pens.

The 14-member ladies organization was founded in 1973, with the concern of improving the quality of life for residents of the west bank of St. JohnParish. The name Wantu Wazuri means “beautiful people” in Swahili andpays tribute to its African heritage.

Each year the organization awards at least one scholarship – totaling more than 30 in the past 25 years, sponsors an annual senior citizens’ dinner, gives food baskets to the needy, holds Christmas and Easter children’s parties, provides emergency assistance to families and sponsors an annual Cotillion Ball for young ladies.

Members include President Mary E. Johnson, Vice President Charmaine B.Roybiskie, Recording Secretary Grace H. Cook, Financial Secretary MyrtleBossier, Treasurer Rose M. Donald, Chaplain Nora A. Pierre and membersThyra Dumas, Deola K. Ellis, Elouise B. Fiffie, Josephine Jackson, Marsha C.Johnson, Vernadine K. Oubre, Dolores B. Sorapuru and Myrtle J. Walker.”Any cooperation like this is wonderful for the community,” West St. JohnElementary Principal Shelton Smith commented, adding one of his top priorities is increasing parental involvement at the school. “People needto know what this organization is doing.”

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