EVART — Although the shining sun and smiling students could be enough to make any teacher happy, on Wednesday, May 20, Evart Elementary School received a surprise that pleasantly thrilled many staff members.

“Just this morning, we had a gentleman representing MacLellan Integrated Services bring us a $2,000 donation,” said Sarah Bailey, Evart Elementary School principal. “He told us to use it any way we wanted to on education.”

Dick Miceli, contract manager at MacLellan, dropped off the $2,000 check to Evart Elementary.

“We won a small-site corporation-wide safety award based off of being injury free and following safety indicators and improvements,” Miceli said. “After the award, we received money to hand out to different charities around Evart.”

Together, MacLellan employees decided who they wanted to give the donations to and how much each organization would receive.

“Besides the elementary school, we donated to Hillier Scholarship Fund, the Evart Volunteer Fire Department and Chase Public Library,” Miceli said. “As a team, we felt providing additional finances to Evart Elementary School would have a bigger impact on the kids future than children in higher education who have already developed.”

Evart Elementary is still deciding what to do with the donation, but one idea is to help fund a mentoring program in the school.

Recently, Jessie Sheir, an eligibility specialist at Evart Elementary, surveyed the staff about what the school needed, and 50 percent requested to have a mentoring program.

“We have two different needs for mentoring,” Bailey said. “One is for students who are struggling academically. To have an adult come in and read with the students, or do flashcards, or just come into the school in general and show that student that not only do we care about them being successful with academics, but we care about them as a person.

“Sometimes just that one relationship can make a child have a hook in education that hasn’t previously existed,” she added.

The other need Bailey believes the school has for a mentoring program is for students who are struggling with behavior.

“Sitting in a desk might be harder for students who struggle with behavior,” Bailey said. “They might be struggling with getting along with a peer or figuring out how to focus on school because they are worried about a family member. There is something about that human element that changes lives.”

Evart Elementary staff are looking at two potential mentoring programs.

One is through Kids Hope, which is a national organization through a local church. The other is through a Community Resource Action Committee.

“Kids Hope is a structured mentoring program that is a very well rounded established mentoring program,” Bailey said. “The Community Resource Action Committee is more like a local effort made up of different local agencies. They told us they would create a mentoring program because our need for one is so high.”

Although the school is working to bring either of the programs to the school, they have no preference on which group they work with.

“With 350 students in the building, I think we have room for both,” Bailey said.

For now, Evart Elementary is putting the money into a savings account while the staff decides what to do with it.

“I was very pleasantly surprised and quite touched about the donation,” Bailey said. “That just doesn’t happen everyday.”