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RISD accepts grant from Leprino

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Angela Martinez, Human Resources Supervisor at Leprino Foods, presented a grant of $21,000 to Principal Ruben Bolaños and Dr. Laura Lucero-Carrillo in Roswell High School’s library on Thursday morning. Joel Ramos, 18, Cheyanne Willard, 18, Beth Waloski (Leprino’s HR Supervisor), Interim Superintendent Susan Sanchez, Jennifer Cole, Morgan Linnan, 17, and Caileb Lucero, 17, were also present to accept the award. Martinez said the grant will be used to provide Chromebooks and summer reading novels for Advanced Placement students. (Alison Penn Photo)

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Leprino Foods Company has awarded the Roswell Independent School District $21,672 to benefit Advanced Placement students.

At Roswell High School’s gymnasium on Thursday morning, Beth Waloski and Angela Martinez, Leprino’s human resources supervisors, presented the award to Principal Ruben Bolaños, Interim Superintendent Susan Sanchez, Dr. Laura Lucero-Carrillo, and four AP students.

Martinez said the grant will be used to purchase novels and two carts with 50 Chromebook laptops for Advanced Placement students at Roswell High School. Additionally, Martinez said one cart with 25 Surface Pro Chromebooks will go to University High School. She said the funds originated from the Leprino Grant Foundation, which was created by the Leprino family to help communities where the company’s plants are located.

Cheyanne Willard, 18, an RHS AP student, said in the past it was difficult to purchase her required summer reading novels. Joel Ramos, 18, a recent graduate, said he had to purchase his books through Amazon.

“It really is our pleasure to be able to help with the educational needs and just help our kids grow, because you are our future,” Martinez said to the students. She also shared that Leprino Foods offers internship opportunities in engineering and food science for students.

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“We are so excited to partner with them and be able to do this for our kids — and to be able to have these AP novels for them and not hinder their summer academics,” Sanchez said about the Leprino Foods grant. “Thank you all for all you do. … You know we needed more technology so this is just going to help us continue to move forward.”

Waloski said their community involvement committee and employees participated in a poll, which led to the result that passion was apparent for local students and their education.

“That was a major driving force, that’s why we partnered with Ms. Sanchez and really discussed where the local needs were — that’s kind of where we started,” Waloski said. “Again our passion is aligned with the children and getting them educated and bringing them back into the community and really advancing them in that way.”

Jennifer Cole, RISD’s director of federal programs, was also present and she said she was excited the funds will benefit high achieving students, because they are often left out of grant funding.

“We want them to get a great education, and continue it, and then come back to Roswell is our hope,” Cole said.

“Our hope is that they do come back and even get the opportunity to work at our plant,” Martinez added.

When asked about the reaction of students, Martinez said she saw relief when students realized they did not have to worry about purchasing AP summer novels — along with gratitude.

Lucero-Carillo is the AP English instructor for RHS juniors and seniors. She also teaches General English for seniors. Knowing that her students will have assistance in acquiring their summer reading novels, Lucero-Carillo said this grant is “fantastic” because her students often tell her finding and purchasing the books is one of their biggest issues when it comes to the rigorous requirements of the AP program. She added that the school librarian “does an awesome job of trying to keep those books supplied here for the kids” — but the grant will be a huge help in addition to this service.

“I’m very excited about this grant,” Lucero-Carrillo said. “The kids need the technology. The more technology we can get into this school the better. Not just for — a lot of people think it’s just for testing. It’s not. We use it for research, we use for projects — there’s so many things out there on that technology. We even use it to help them start exploring colleges and exploring their requirements to get into college. So all of those things help them.”

Lucero-Carillo said seniors will be reading historical fiction called “The Poisonwood Bible” about imperialism in the Congo. She said the juniors will be reading “Native Son”, about racism and civil rights, and “In Cold Blood” will be assigned for a research paper.

“I’m just very excited, and a huge thank you to Susan Sanchez and Jennifer Cole for making this possible — and to Leprino for helping out our kids as we are going into this, and just really supporting the AP program, because I believe the AP program really helps kids prepare for college, which is what we want,” Lucero-Carrillo said.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.