Alan Shawn Feinstein visited Holliman Elementary School Thursday to congratulate students on their commitment to his campaign against hunger and present the school with $5,556 to put toward programs they wish.
During the two identical assemblies, one for grades K through 3 and another for grades 4 through 6, Feinstein presented two different checks. The first for $556 was for their participation in the annual Feinstein canned food drive. As a Feinstein Leadership School, Feinstein will provide $1 to the school for every can of food they donate.
“You earned that check for your good deeds,” said Feinstein.
Then to the shock of the audience, Feinstein presented a check for $5,000.
No one was more surprised than Principal Joseph Coffey, whose jaw literally dropped when Feinstein made the presentation.
While he did not expect the generous donation, Coffey acknowledged that Feinstein had been very good to the school in the past during his introduction to the student body.
“A lot of the things you have in school, the things you might take for granted, aren’t just because of Dr. D’Agostino, Mr. Bushell and the taxpayers of Warwick, but also because Mr. Feinstein has provided a lot of resources.”
Because he was not expecting it, Coffey could not say what the money would be put toward but he will decide with help from the teachers at Holliman.
“We’ll get everyone together and decide. I am confident the teachers will want to do something to give back to the community while also doing something for the kids academically, probably striking a balance there somehow,” explained Coffey.
In addition to delivering checks for the school, Feinstein provided a new good deeds journal and Feinstein Junior Scholar card for each student. The cards allow the child and one guest free entrance into a number of attractions throughout the region.
“Do you know why you can go places for free? Because people respect you for the good deeds you do,” said Feinstein. “You are someone who reaches out to put a smile on other people’s faces.”
Holliman is one of 137 Feinstein Leadership Schools in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; there is also a school in Los Angeles and in other parts of the world, including Kenya, Haiti and Honduras. According to Feinstein, the Junior Scholar Program now includes over 100,000 students.
Director of Elementary Education Robert Bushell attended both assemblies and commented about how generous Alan Shawn Feinstein is.
“He’s given out over $30,000 in the past two months,” said Bushell. Approximately 12 of Warwick’s elementary schools are counted as Feinstein Leadership Schools, and Bushell remembers that for agreeing to be a leadership school and putting a sign up, each school received $10,000 from the Foundation.
Superintendent Dr. Richard D’Agostino, who also attended the assembly, also pointed out that what Feinstein asks for in return is easy to deliver.
“And what he’s advocating is being kind to one another, good deeds,” said D’Agostino, adding that if the message of being good to one another can reach the children of Warwick while in the elementary schools, it will hopefully carry with them for the rest of their lives.