Manchester police said they have no new leads on who stole computers from a Manchester elementary school over Veterans’ Day weekend, but, that hasn’t dampened school spirit, thanks to an outpouring of support and some cash.
The value of the computers and other equipment stolen from Bowers Elementary School sometime between Nov. 9 and 12 is around $20,000.
“Twenty thousand dollars is a big chunk,” Principal Mary Lou Ruggiero said.
It is a potentially crippling loss in this day of tight school budgets, but Ruggiero, her staff and the students are finding that the support from the Manchester community has been priceless.
“Here we are a little elementary school in the town of Manchester, but there's a lot of people out there who care about what happens to us,” Ruggiero said.
That includes Jill Merriam, who has elementary-school age children. They don’t go to Bowers, but she was one of the first to step up.
“What we wanted to do was offer a seed donation, but also reach out to other people, whether it’s individuals or businesses, to try to get other people to make donations,” said Merriam, who owns Key Hyundai.
She chipped in $2,000 and served as the catalyst for the positive community response, not just in the form of money, but also through calls, letters and emails.
“(It was great) not to have the children of our school feel like the bad guys had won,” Ruggiero said.
Technology is so vital to education that the loss of computers for any period of time can be harmful, so the Manchester community stepping up to help the students is so vital.
“They need to learn these technology skills now because once they get into middle school, high school, and eventually into the workforce, technology is everything,” Merriam said.
The purchase order for the first batch of replacements is in. As more money comes in, more computers will be ordered.
Although the computers won’t arrive for weeks, students continue to learn lessons.
“That's a true civic lesson. That good things can come from something bad,” Merriam said.
“There is a silver lining,” Ruggiero said.
To make a donation to help replace the stolen computers at Bowers Elementary, mail a check payable to The Bowers School, with “for computers” written in the subject line to:
45 North School Street
Manchester, CT 06042