Shopping spree helping students amp up wardrobe

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ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) - The 11th annual Back-to-School Shopping Spree 2017 made sure students in Abilene were prepared with the necessities for the upcoming school year, Friday, thanks to West Texas Utilities and Communities in Schools (CIS).

Fifty students from Abilene ISD and Wylie ISD had the chance to amp up their wardrobe.

Parents came along with the students, filling up JC Penny in the Mall of Abilene, at the crack of dawn.

These students are pre-selected by CIS of the Big Country.

"It just makes it to where you're not worried about, 'Oh, is someone going to do this to me?' Or, like getting picked on or something like that," eighth grader, December Fish said.

She said her peers change their looks every year just to fit in and if you don't, then you get bullied.

"People are always like, 'Oh, you're too skinny, so you need to change this, you need to eat more. Or oh, you're too fat, you need to stop eating. Do this. Do that,'" December Fish said.

However, bullying is not new to her. Fish spoke out about the traumas she delt with in elementary.

"When I was in fifth grade, I had a lazy eye so, I had to have surgery and after my surgery, everyone started liking me for just the way I changed. Just a little bit of change and someone started liking me," December Fish said.

Her mother, Nicole Fish, said the shopping spree helps a lot..

"This will get her about four or five outfits. Uniforms are so expensive and it'll give me time to get her some different clothes," Nicole Fish said.

The total sponsorship is $6,000. Each student had $100  to spend on school clothes.

Jessica Michan, with West Texas Utilities said the easiest thing for people to do as a community is to come together to help those in need.

"It's really important to have that confidence especially on the first day. For a lot of these kids, if not all of them, it begins with their appearance. So, starting off the first day without having maybe that new pair of shoes or that new shirt, whatever it is, can really affect a student's performance," Michan said.

Executive director of CIS, Terry Johnson, said this shopping spree is more than just clothes.

CIS is a local Student Success Program that helps students improve attendance, academic, and behavior performance on school campuses in Abilene and Wylie ISD. 

"Academics and attendance is a big part of what we do as Communities in Schools and so sometimes if a kid doesn't have sufficient clothing or if they don't feel good about themselves, they don't come to school." Johnson said.

The remaining $1,000 have been set aside to provide emergency school clothing to students in need throughout the school year at the following schools: Mann Middle School, Craig Middle School, Madison Middle School, Clack Middle School, Wylie Middle School/Junior High, Abilene High School, Cooper High School, and Wylie High School.

Students in need should see the CIS Student Success Coach on campus to get assistance with clothing. 


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