School Pride's Second Episode Features Lanier Elementary and Teach 4 America
The second episode of the first season of NBC’s School Pride features Lanier Elementary in Louisiana, where viewers find out that 300 Lanier Elementary students only have one ball (that is actually partially deflated) to play with. Viewers also learn that School Pride isn’t Lanier’s first lifeline of hope. The school has a heavy presence of Teach 4 America teachers and although test scores are improving, the building itself is deteriorating- but the help won’t just stop there.
Just like the premiere episode, Former Miss USA and Designer Susie Castillo, Comedian Kim Whitley, Political Journalist Jacob Soboroff and Team Leader and Voice Over Host Tom Stroup, come together to spearhead the restoration project of the school.
Also helping out with the seven day restoration were the patron saints of Louisiana: the NFL’s New Orleans’ Saints, community volunteers and students, faculty and staff of Lanier. Some of the elementary school’s alumni volunteers also reportedly flew in from across the country to help.
At Lanier, home of the Lions, the school playground was rusted, unsafe and minimal. The air conditioning was broken, floor tiles had large cracks or holes, and the building, as whole, was falling apart.
Once again, in true NBC fashion, there was product placement, but minimal and barely noticeable. On Star, Walmart, Home Depot, Bing.com, Microsoft, Kompan all sponsored this project.
Whitley was concerned that even though students had “free breakfast” at school, their nutrition was suffering on the weekends, so Walmart donated household food for the children of Lanier for a year.
To find out how a school could even get into such bad condition, Soboroff met with Paul Pastorek, the Superintendent of Education for the Louisiana Department of Education. Pastorek said the problem is that in Louisiana money is distributed to where it is collected, so poor districts do not receive funding because their taxed citizens do not contribute enough to the government.
The team and volunteers renovated the teachers’ classrooms, the playground, the cafeteria/auditorium, the school entrance and also created a technology center.
The NBC team felt that because the Principal and Teach 4 America teachers were so passionate about their school, they should also be rewarded for their efforts, so they built them a teacher’s lounge. The students were also rewarded with a river boat cruise on the Louisiana River for their volunteer work.
“I hope that people learn from seeing what’s been done that they can have something better if they work for it, if they come together,” said Principal William Crowe.