PNC supports Head Start teachers

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A.J. Richardson Head Start Center NC pre-K teacher Donna Cockrell, left, and NC pre-K teacher assistant Wanda Chavis react as they learn Cockrell has been selected as a PNC Foundation Teacher Hero on Wednesday at the head start center.


Staff Writer

Friday, April 20, 2018

A teacher at the A.J. Richardson Head Start Center received a surprise on Wednesday as she was selected as a Teacher Hero through the PNC Grow Up Great program.

Donna Cockrell was presented with a $2,000 gift card to use for her projects on DonorsChoose.org, a crowdfunding site that helps teachers receive extra classroom resources. The event was part of the Grow Up Great Day celebrated by PNC employees.

“We learned that you have a special teacher here who helps the children learn and grow. Because of all her hard work, we are awarding the PNC Teacher Hero Award to Donna Cockrell,” said Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, director of client and community relations for PNC’s Eastern Carolinas market, at the A J Richardson Head Start Center on South Franklin Street.

In a later interview, Quinn-Wolf said one of the reasons Cockrell was selected was because of her effective use of the DonorsChoose.org projects.

“She has made great use of the projects on Donors Choose and has really exhibited leadership in that area,” Quinn-Wolf said.

Deforest Hinton, director of the Richardson Head Start Center, said Cockrell is deserving of the honor.

“She is an excellent teacher, and the kids really love her,” Hinton said.

Cockrell said this is her sixth year working in the NC Pre-K room at the Richardson Head Start Center.

“I really enjoy working with these kids. I have been able to get supplies to encourage engagement and creativity in them through the DonorsChoose.org.” Cockrell said. “With this donation, I am ready to embark on new projects.”

In addition to the gift to Cockrell, the A.J. Richardson Head Start center received a $2,000 card to seed other projects, and other teachers at the school will each receive $100 gift cards. PNC employees also presented the school with a wagon full of books and 16 iPads — one tablet for each classroom.

Hinton said she is also grateful for the donation to the center.

“We are very excited and very appreciative. PNC matches the donations for these projects on DonorsChoose.org and all of this really helps a lot. The kids are really excited about their new books as well.”

Hinton said the worst part of the process was keeping the secret.

“I have known about this since February, but I was sworn to secrecy,” Hinton said. “It was really hard to to keep something this exciting a secret.”

The initiative is part of PNC Foundation’s focus on helping children receive quality pre-K education, according to a press release from the organization. In 2017,  in Eastern Carolinas, the DonorsChoose/PNC initiative funded 192 projects with a total cost of $128,358 that impacted more than 3,500 students.

“We are hoping Rocky Mount area pre-K teachers will learn about this alliance and realize that they can request classroom resources, and PNC will match each donation through May 31,” Cindy Montgomery, vice president of media relations in the North and South Carolina PNC Financial Services Group, said in a statement.

For more information about Donors Choose, go to https://www.donorschoose.org/