JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Funding in education is usually a hot button issue. Many claim that schools are underfunded and need more help purchasing materials. Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula is lending its support to Jackson County Schools.
One of those schools celebrated a donation from the refinery Tuesday. The $1,079 donation helped purchase an educational device called a Boogie Board. It's an LCD writing pad that erases electronically.
Charlene Hooks, a math teacher at Singing River Academy, said the boards have given new life to her classroom.
"I've had children that have absolutely said that I really didn't like math until I came in here and using these Boogies Boards has helped me become a math lover," said Hooks.
Hooks applied for Chevron's Fuel Your School campaign which provides up to $50,000 for Jackson County Schools during October. The donation to Hooks' classroom helped purchase 24 Boogie Boards for the students.
It was easy to see the students' excitement about the writing pads. "It helps us learn better than paper because I like the Boogie Board better than paper," said fifth grader Azaria Deflanders.
Deflanders said the device actually saves paper by providing the writing surface equivalent of 5,000 sheets. Once the battery dies, the devices have to be replaced. But, these students said it's much better than having to use sheets of notebook paper to work math problems.
"I think they're wonderful, because some other kids in other classes don't get the opportunity to have them," said fifth grader Samiyah Bass.
Hooks said she loves working with Chevron because the company's generosity provides many materials for schools in Jackson County. The Pascagoula refinery's General Manager, Bruce Chinn, was on hand to see his company's donation at work in the classroom.
"They were neat. I was like, man, I wish would have had that when I was in the fifth grade. It was just really, really cool," said Chinn.
According to Chinn, this is the fourth year his refinery has taken part in the Fuel Your School program. He believes in helping the community in which he lives and works. It's something that he hopes will have a lasting impression.
"This future generation has to really have a strong, strong background in science, technology, engineering, and math, and this just fits so nicely with that," said Chinn.
Chevron also donates one dollar (up to $50,000) to the Fuel Your School campaign for every eight gallons of fuel or more purchased at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in Jackson County during the month of October.