Hackett students surprised with backpacks and school supplies

All the students in the school were surprised with the backpacks at an early morning assembly, which was also complete with a performance from Rapping About Prevention, a group of men who rap and dance at assemblies in ways that inform students about the importance of staying in school and maintaining good attendance.

Hackett students collect their free backpacks filled with school supplies, which were donated to them by Scotties Facial Tissues in collaboration with the Kids In Need Foundation.

On Tuesday morning, students of Horatio B. Hackett School, an elementary school in Fishtown, were surprised with new backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks and supplies were donated by Scotties Facial Tissues in collaboration with the Kids In Need Foundation.

“At Scotties we’re all about being prepared, and back to school is the time to be prepared, so we wanted to help kids prepare to go back to school,” said Scotties brand manager Pamela Ricci. “We surprised all the kids in the school with a backpack full of school supplies to help them prepare for a great year.”

According to Ricci, two other schools were also selected for the surprise — one in the Orlando area and another in the Boston area.

“Before the end of the last school year [Kids In Need and Scotties] reached out and asked if we’d be interested,” said the school’s principal, Todd Kimmel. “They explained that each child would receive a backpack and they wanted it to be a surprise so we kept it a surprise all this time.”

All the students in the school were surprised with the backpacks at an early morning assembly, which was also complete with a performance from Rapping About Prevention, a group of men who rap and dance at assemblies in ways that inform students about the importance of staying in school and maintaining good attendance.

“I wanted to get the message across to our kids that attendance is a big push across the district,” Kimmel said. “Our goal is to have 95 percent attendance — we want to shoot for perfect attendance, but we understand kids get sick or need to stay home, but if a child misses more than nine days throughout the school year, they wouldn’t reach the goal.”

Kimmel said an average day’s attendance at Hackett ranges between 92 percent and 96 percent each day.

Scotties and Kids In Need also funded a new reflection room for students, which is a space where they can go to to “chill out.”

The backpack and school supplies donation was the latest in a series of fortunes Hackett has had recently. Just this past May, members of the Philadelphia Eagles came out to Hackett to build the school a new playground. Along with the project, Mural Arts Philadelphia also painted a mural on the entire school.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Kimmel said. According to Kimmel, the School District of Philadelphia nominates three schools for the Eagles to build a new playground on, and the Eagles select the school they feel would be the best fit.

Additionally, Hackett received a full service kitchen this year for its students. Previously, the students’ meals were cooked at a satellite location and then shipped to and reheated at Hackett. But from now on, students will receive meals made in-house.

“There’s a lot more healthy options for students,” Kimmel said.