Company gets every student started with something in common

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal After returning from a 3 week vacation, first grade students from Fremont elementary received free backpacks from Costco on Monday.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal After returning from a 3 week vacation, first grade students from Fremont elementary received free backpacks from Costco on Monday.

Out of the boxes came the backpacks.

And because of the backpacks, the curious hands of children searched for goodies inside.

Jean DePaz, who sat at his first-grade table at Fremont Elementary School, pulled a red backpack from its plastic packaging.

It was the promise of a new friendship that 6-year-old Jean (pronounced "Zahn") unleashed with the very opening of every zipper. If he had an extra chair, he might have given it its own seat. Were an extra pencil and paper around. he might have made it its own name tag for this first day of school.

"I got a new backpack," he said to anyone listening, but most notably to his new friend Backpack. "I have a yellow one at home. Cool, there's a lot of stuff in here. My pencil holder is dark blue too," and he held it up to his likewise busily searching tablemates.

"I got glue and tissues and scissors and glue," he said, pulling each out one by one from the pencil holder. The first glue was an actual bottle. The second, a gluestick.

"I've got some good stuff," he said returning things to Backpack's holder. Then out came Backpack's promise of other things: a yellow ruler, a notebook, a pack of loose-leaf paper, the discovery of a rectangular Costco backpack identification card stuck behind a flap of plastic in the outer-most section.

"All right, I got a license," he said in a most Napoleon Dynamite way. "I'm going to write my name."

And bit by bit "J-E-A-N D-E-P-A-Z," the Z backward, appeared across his new license. He put it back behind its flap, "Jean DePaz" facing inward.

First-grade students at Fremont Elementary School received their lode of school supplies on Monday, back-to-school day for the Carson City School District's only year-round elementary school.

"Things are going just very well," Principal Jan Sullivan said. "The students are really excited to begin. Not many tears, which is very good. Sometimes the parents are more upset than the kids."

To welcome students to their first year of full-day school, the Carson-area Costco gives backpacks each year to first graders in the district's six elementary schools.

"It gives (students) a great opportunity to start from the beginning with something in common," said Fremont Elementary School first-grade teacher Judy Holloway. "It's so nice for Costco to do this for us, to have such community support."

Backpacks left over from the first-graders were given to teacher David Louis' nine special-ed students. The remainder were taken to the office by Costco employees Jessica Nelson, Maria Mackie and Janice Dearing.

"The rest will be for kids that are coming in, and are transient, or whatever, and need a backpack," said Dearing, marketing representative for Costco.

Date and times for Costco's backpack delivery to other schools are being set up, but will occur sometime on or after school begins Aug. 24 for the rest of the district.

At the start of its new year, Fremont has some 594 students attending. That number will steadily increase as parents in the school's zoning area realize their children are back at school.

"Especially people new to the area," Sullivan said. "They don't realize they are in our zone."

Staff is at the school at 7:30 a.m. to answer phones. The school day beings at 8:25 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m., 10 minutes later than last year's 2:50 p.m. dismissal, to make up for time that will used for professional development this year.

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.


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