A warm, spring morning on Davis field quickly turned into a colorful, busy day as elementary school students arrived on campus with inspiration in hand.
As the children approached Davis field, their visions of uniquely designed school desks transformed from paper to reality.
On March 29, D.E.S.K., one of the largest annual philanthropy events on campus, took place, sponsoring 43 students of a local Winston-Salem elementary school, Old Town Elementary, and raised over $2,000 for the school.
D.E.S.K., an abbreviation for Discovering Education through Student Knowledge, is an event of Wake Forest students in which teams of students sign up to sponsor an individual elementary school student and create a desk with the unique design of their choice.
Elementary school students are asked to complete an application process and are ultimately chosen by their schoo based on behavior and attendance. One student, Christian, 7, said she was nominated by her classroom teacher to be a part of D.E.S.K.
After arriving on campus on the day of the event, the students of Old Town Elementary were individually greeted by their assigned teams. They were presented with an empty desk that would soon be painted with their dream design with the help of their team.
“It is so cute watching their imagination flow by designing their ‘perfect’ desk,” said Sarah Averbuch, a sophomore on the planning committee for the event. “We hope that by providing students with desks and school supplies, they will be encouraged to improve their study habits at home.”
There are few guidelines to the students painting their desks, some painting animals, unique designs, names and sports symbols. However, most of the unique desks represent significant symbols in the student’s lives.
“This is one of the best days ever,” said Esdras, a 5th grade student of Old Town Elementary, while students painted his desk with tacos and a collaborative design of the American and Mexican flags representing his family.
Also present at the event was a bouncy house, pizza donated by Papa John’s, popsicles, games, music and karaoke, which brought nothing but smiles to the kids faces.
Not only did the students of Old Town Elementary get a freshly painted desk to use at home, they also received school supplies to go along with their desks, which were donated by the students and the money raised by the teams.
However, a difficulty that comes with the planning of D.E.S.K is the transportation of the freshly painted desks to the individual students’ homes.
After the event last year, many desks were unable to be delivered to the individual students, as the parents lacked means to transport them from the school to their homes. Therefore, the children did not get to enjoy the personalized desks that they spent all day painting. The desks that were not able to be delivered to the participants were donated back to D.E.S.K and repainted at the event this year. The leadership team plans to alleviate this issue by assisting families who cannot come retrieve the desks themselves.
“The desks were brought to Old Town Elementary directly after the event,” said Amanda Davis, Co-Chair of Event Planning. “Families will pick them up there at their convenience, but the leadership team will help any families who have problems getting the desks home after the next few weeks”
Old Town Elementary is lacking supplies as basic as #2 pencils. Wake Forest students were able donate the customized 43 desks to these students in addition to an incredible about of school supplies through the money donated and raised for the event. Individual teams donated money towards school supplies for their sponsored student as well as a collective tilt that collected money from donors outside of campus, raising over $2,000 for Old Town Elementary as a whole.
The event was successfully run this year by three dedicated juniors, Hannah Huffman, Callie Randall and Dan Griffin, with the help of their executive board.
“I think often times Wake Forest kids get stuck in the bubble of campus and the monotony of school routines, and D.E.S.K provides a way for students to make a real difference in the city around them,” said Huffman when asked why D.E.S.K is such an important event.
Huffman also elaborated on how appreciative the students and their families are for the opportunities the desk represents for the future of their education.
“D.E.S.K is one of the most education-centered philanthropy events Wake has, and as an institution of higher education I think it’s important for us to encourage children to succeed and to give them role models to look up to early on as an example of how far they can go with their education.”