August 06, 2018

PA student raises more than $12,000 for school supplies

Total quadruples original goal for PALS students

PALS students graduate with the skills necessary to succeed in high school. Thanks to Alexandra Leach, this year’s PALS graduating class will also have the needed school supplies.

In the past year, Leach—a Phillips Academy senior and PALS tutor—raised more than $12,000 to fund her backpack initiative. She got the idea last year after gifting one of her PALS tutees with school supplies.

“After seeing how grateful she was and how much use she got out of them, I decided I wanted to do something similar for all the graduates,” says Leach, who also sought to raise money to give the kids special PALS apparel. “I remember receiving a number of T-shirts when I arrived at the Academy as a new student; I wanted to give the PALS kids a similar sense of pride.”

Alexandra Leach ’18 presents the backpacks to PALS students.

The backpack initiative gives the kids some of the tools they’ll need for high school while also providing them with a pat on the back for completing this program.

Alexandra Leach ’19 PALS tutor

Leach set an original goal of $3,000 (chosen to mark the 30th anniversary of PALS) and wrote letters to a large network cultivated in her Girl Scout-cookie-selling days. A donor offered to match all contributions, which prompted such a generous outpouring of money that Leach announced a second challenge match.

With more than quadruple her original goal raised, Leach says she will donate the excess funds available after the purchase of the supplies and apparel to help fund the PALS summer educational field trips. Leach dedicated her fund to former PALS Director Marvin Coote. “He’s done so much for the program,” she says.

Leach says working for PALS as a tutor in English and Spanish grammar and as a beatboxing enrichment instructor has given her confidence, taught her patience, and improved her communications skills.

“I witnessed firsthand the importance of good role models in inspiring kids. The teachers and interns working for PALS are all caring, talented people who are able to show students what is possible when they enter the real world.

Categories: Outreach

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