The final year for the sixth graders of Washington Elementary School in Flint, Michigan was not looking good. This was the school’s last year and it seemed as if the children would not be receiving yearbooks due to their district’s massive budget cuts. Sorry if I’m making you a little sad. But don’t worry, this story has a happy ending!
While the school sadly shuttered its doors in June, all of the students received their very own free Walgreens yearbook. The local Walgreens on Dort and Davison adopted the school several years ago and have been a tight knit community ever since. So, once the store manager Don Dunklee heard what was to happen, the whole Photo team sprang into action. “Community involvement is just something that I’ve always been involved with,” Dunklee explained. “We adopted [Washington Elementary] a little over two years ago. We did a Halloween photo shoot the first year we adopted the school and donated the money we generated back to the school’s parent advisory. “
“Out of 400 students, only 9 didn’t show up. Parents made sure to bring all the kids in for picture day. The students even got to pick their own background.” It was a win-win for both Walgreens and Washington Elementary. The students received their yearbooks with personalized pictures and Photo by Walgreens created a huge buzz in the community for their photography deals. Parents were able to pay for school pictures, starting at the discounted price of $4.99.
Flint Walgreens raised $6,000 in one month to create yearbooks for every single student just by going door-to-door. “We were a little worried we weren’t going to come up with enough money to pay for it. The Flint community should be proud, the east side of Flint got together and made it happen,” Washington principal Phyllis McCree said. The sixth graders received their yearbooks on graduation day, while the rest of the school received their books on the last day of school.
Dunklee was very proud of what his photo staff has done. Within two months, the entire staff had arranged and printed all of the students’ yearbooks. Spearheaded by the Head Photo Specialist Keith, each of the photos were shot, and the copied and pasted for the yearbook. The sixth graders had each of their own books personalized once they received them. They could take that book in and a Photo associate would insert a class graduation picture and single graduation photo of the student.
The store has already adopted another school, Potter Elementary, for the upcoming school year. Potter’s picture day is October 2nd and the staff has already prepared for the next session. “Since there are 680 students, we’ll be splitting it into two days this time,” Dunklee said. “They can pay as they go this year so we can make sure everyone has a yearbook at the end of this year as well.”
So after all this… what was the most rewarding part? “My staff… having them work as a team and complete 400 yearbooks in time for graduation,” explained Dunklee. “All of those students got their yearbook on the last day of school. We pulled together over $5,000.” Also, this manager also made sure to give great credit to his staff. “If I didn’t have any of my staff supporting this, there would have been no way we could have gotten this done. I am so grateful of all of their hard work.”
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