Withers computer lab

“Come see what a DISD neighborhood school can do when parents, community members and generous sponsors come together to make spaces new and engaging for students and staff members.”

Thus read the invitation to Harry C. Withers’ Elementary School‘s ribbon-cutting for its renovated computer lab, paid for with funds raised from last spring’s “Withers Takes Flight” auction.

The lab has been re-carpeted, painted and equipped with kid-friendly computer desks and chairs, plus headphones for every student (“no more sharing!” a flier stated). Auction dollars also paid for updates to the teacher’s lounge and a large flat-screen TV that will hang in the lobby and communicate upcoming events.

The largest chunk of auction proceeds was a whopping $40,000 for field trips — double the field trip amount from the 2015 auction — to “ensure every grade has multiple experiences this year.”

Withers is a more diverse Dallas ISD school than most, thanks largely to the success of its dual language program implemented a decade ago. Even beyond that program, however, it’s becoming a more popular option with the affluent homeowners who live nearby and can afford private school. Those families have poured themselves into the school auction and other fundraisers in recent years to pay for academic perks and facility improvements — one renovation last year was new walls between the staff restrooms and conference rooms to create more privacy, which speaks to the circa 1960 school’s general disrepair.

A new library in 2013, a new sports court in 2014, and improvements the past couple of years are re-making the school little by little. Withers has come a long way in a short time, noted PTA president Caroline Wall, recalling the time a few years ago working on the auction when she thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if one day we had sponsors?”

“One day came a whole lot sooner than I thought it would,” Wall says.

Withers lobby

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