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Thousands of students converged on local schools the week before the first bell rang to pick up supplies for the upcoming semester. Businesses and service groups partnered to help provide each student with the necessities of the classroom.

At Clermont Elementary and Groveland Elementary, every student was provided with a kit of supplies. Cemex, which operates a sand mine in South Lake, funded the supplies for both schools.

"We approached the schools and asked for a list of supplies rehired for each grade," explained Jenna Emerson of Cemex. They we contracted with Education Products (EPI) to fulfill those requests.

Needs varied by grade level for both schools. According to Cameron Decker of EPI, supplies are sourced through their own line or through branded products. Once the list is established cardboard trays are filled with the items and shrink wrapped for delivery.

That's when Emerson steps back in. Along with Decker and school personnel, the students are identified and given the appropriate trays.

"We want to make sure every student starts out with what they need," she added.

For principals Kim Jarvis of Groveland Elementary and Cleamstine Caple of Clermont Elementary, it was a whirlwind day of activity. In addition to picking up their supplies, students had the opportunity to see their classrooms, many for the first time.

For Emerson and Cemex, it's part of an ongoing effort for education. The company runs the Engstrom Environmental Education Center in Clermont. Like others run by the company, the center provides outdoor classrooms that foster awareness of the importance of conservation and the preservation of the environment.

The center also provides environmental education for the community at large, works to increase biodiversity in existing or created habitats and fosters awareness of how industry and natural habitat can coexist.

For more information contact Emerson at 863-422-1171, ext. 233 or email at

Local companies partnered with South Lake schools to insure each student was ready for their first day
Jenna Emerson
Parents lined up with students at Clermont Elementary to pick up school supplies and meet teachers. Despite the large crowd, the lines moved smoothly. Jenna Emerson hands a kit to a young student in the school's library. Cemex donated the supplies for two of the area schools. (Photos by Mike Corradino)
Lines at Clermont Elementary School
Ceme and EPI
Cameron Decker of EPI, Jenna Emerson of Cemex and Kim Jarvis of Groveland Elementary show off a symbolic check representing the thousands of dollars it took to outfit students at two South Lake Schools. (Photo by Mike Corradino)


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