Transwestern Pipeline donates paper to school

October 16, 2010 • Local News

Mignon Simitz, a kindergarten teacher at Valley View Elementary School had an idea [auth] to help her school save money in order to weather the monsoon created by the economy and the district’s budget crisis.

“Everyone has had to cut down on their use of paper because of budget,” said Patty Harris, Valley View Elementary school principal.

Simitz contacted Jaqueline Hewett, a local friend and measurement data analyst at Transwestern Pipeline, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer, during the school year, and asked Hewett if her employer could save one blank side of used copy paper and donate it to the school.

According to Hewett, company confidentiality practices prevented Transwestern from doing that, because the used side of the paper would have some sensitive information on it. Instead, officials offered to donate copy paper directly to the school.

“Just to make sure (that) I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I called my boss, Pat Flavin,” Hewett said. “He said ‘look, we have $500 in the budget for donation purposes. Go buy them paper.’”

With the help of Office Max, Transwestern was able to purchase 20 cases of copy paper for $500, which included a 20 percent discount, and four free cases of paper.

“Transwestern Pipeline, Energy Transfer, and Office Max are trying to help out, because we thought it was ridiculous that teachers had to resort to scrap paper,” Hewett said.

Harris pointed out that this was not the first time in the school’s history that the community had stepped up its efforts to help the school in the time of need.

“(About) 15 years ago, another company did the same thing,” Harris said. “We’ve cut this budget quite a bit across the board. Paper is one of the areas we’ve cut back on.”

Harris said the paper will be used for various purposes, like sending notes to parents and scratch paper for students to use when working on in-class assignments. In addition, teachers and students already use dry-erase boards during lessons to conserve on resources.

Some other eco-friendly measures Valley View has taken include the use of Internet based technologies. In spite of the school’s efforts, the community’s intervention provides a crutch for the 2009 Blue Ribbon school to lean on.

“Obviously, it gives us more paper to use,” Harris said. “We’ve (used) a lot of online websites (for resources), but we still (had) a need for paper.”

Harris is grateful for Simitz’s quick thinking.

“… big ‘thank you’ to Mignon Simitz for asking for help,” Harris said.

“We were buying our own paper — coming out of the teachers’ pockets … you gotta nickle and dime it out of your own pockets,” Mignon said.

Hewett applauded the community for providing Valley View with the resources it needed for the school year and making a call to action.

“I think the community needs to know that if they’d like to — if any other business would like to step up and help — any school out there can use a donation like this,” Hewett said.

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