HARPER WOODS — Several dozen Beacon Elementary students lined up in the gym Sept. 25 to pick up a supply-filled backpack from Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.
Ficano has been hauling backpacks to schools throughout Wayne County for several years now, with many visits to elementary schools in Harper Woods.
He brought 50 backpacks to Beacon Elementary this fall to help students to gear up for the school year.
“Over all of Wayne County, by the time we’re done, we’re going to give over 1,000 bags,” Ficano said.
In the several years that Ficano has been bringing book bags to schools in the county, he has passed out 10,000 backpacks.
He said education is important to him, and he thinks doing this sends a message of the importance of education.
“Education has always been stressed in my family,” Ficano said. “My daughter is a teacher. (It’s) something that’s always important.”
At Beacon, he asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up and talked to them about the importance of education.
Many of the students raised their hands when asked if they wanted to be police officers, firefighters, teachers, doctors and lawyers. Some of the young elementary school students even seemed to raise their hands for multiple occupations.
“One thing that they all have in common that’s really important is their ability to read and write,” Ficano said, adding that in many countries engineering is a respected field. “You have to be good at math and science.”
Harper Woods Superintendent Todd Biederwolf and Beacon Principal Janet Gottsleben were also at the backpack giveaway.
“We really appreciate your support of our district,” Biederwolf said to Ficano.
“I think it’s amazing,” Gottsleben said of the bags with supplies. “This is a resource that many of our students struggle to come to school with.”
She added that it sends the message that “we’re all in this together.”