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Grant will help set up professional clothing closets

A $1,000 grant from a statewide student-led organization will allow LCPS’s three traditional high schools to set up professional clothing closets so students can look the part when they step into a business setting.

“These will serve as resources for students who may not have what they need to go to professional interviews, whether it’s scholarship interviews or job interviews and even job shadowing,” said Brittany Harrison, the district’s high school career development coordinator who accepted the grant award Friday from the North Carolina Science Education Program (NCSEP) and founder Mahita Desaraju.

Eight people pose in front of a brick building holding a large replica check for $1,000.The creation of Mahita, a senior at Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw in Union County, NCSEP is comprised of students from across the state who conduct fund-raisers and solicit donations in order to provide grants to Title 1 schools.

She and her parents, Nagesh Desaraju and Anu Singaraju, drove from Union County to present the $1,000 check to Harrison; Amy Jones, director of high school education and CTE; Superintendent Brent Williams; Associate Superintendent Frances Herring; and Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II.

The grant was unsolicited and came with no parameters for its use. The professional clothing closet was a project of LCPS’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program that was looking for funding.

“We’re going to buy clothes and use this money to keep them clean,” Harrison said. “We’re going to get donations first from people who may have had professional clothing racks already. The grant will help us set up the facilities.”

The district’s CTE program provides instruction and a pathway to certification in more than a dozen areas of employment, from masonry to nurse assistant, and works with local manufacturers like Crown and Spirit AeroSystems to provide apprenticeships and internships for high school students. CTE instruction is offered at Kinston, North Lenoir and South Lenoir high schools.

Businesses or groups that would like to donate new or gently used professional attire for young men and women can reach Harrison at 252-527-9184 or by email at bharrison@lenoir.k12.nc.us.

Photo caption:

Mahita Desaraju, a high school senior from Union County and founder of the North Carolina Science Education Program, and Brittany Harrison, LCPS’s high school career development coordinator, hold a simulated check representing NCSEP’s $1,000 grant award that will help the district’s CTE program set up a professional clothing closet for high school students. On hand for the presentation were, from left, Superintendent Brent Williams, Mahita's parents Anu Singaraju and Nagesh Desaraju, Associate Superintendent Frances Herring, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II and Amy Jones, director of high school education and CTE.