Skip to main content

Student Spotlight: “I Want to Be Part of the Solution”

Class of elementary school students holding up books
CALS senior Luke Stancil, top center, with elementary school students.

CALS senior and Agricultural Institute grad Luke Stancil believes that every child deserves a quality education. That’s why he donated $500 in books to his second-grade teacher. And from that single gift, he started a foundation that will continue providing books and supplies to teachers in Johnston County, North Carolina.

Read on to learn more about this remarkable student and his JOCO Reads Foundation.

How did you get the idea to make the book donation to your old school?

As everyone knows, public education is an issue that is front and center in North Carolina. We have seen some good things that are happening in public schools over the past few years, but there is always room for improvement. Instead of relying on others to fix the problem, I want to be a part of the solution. So, I reached out to my second-grade teacher and asked what I could do to help her and her students. After we had spoken, I decided that I was going to donate over $500 worth of books for her students to take home for summer reading that each student requested and school supplies for Mrs. Taylor’s class to start the next year.

Photo of two people hugging
Stancil hugs his former elementary school teacher.

What inspired you to start the JOCO Reads Foundation?

After I had visited Mrs. Taylor‘s classroom, I wanted to challenge other businesses and citizens in Johnston County to be a part of the solution to improving our education system and inspire a new generation of community leaders. I want our teachers to fill dignified and respected in Johnston County. The statistic shows that if a third grader can’t read at a third-grade reading level, then he or she is four times more likely to drop out of high school then their peers. Education is the great equalizer in our society. There is no greater tool to help lift kids out of poverty than to receive a good education and have someone mentor and inspire them to fulfill their dreams.

What are the foundation’s goals?

To carry out educational and benevolent purposes including providing books to classrooms and students in Johnston County Public Schools; supporting activities to deliver those classrooms in Johnston County with school supplies; and supporting activities to promote reading programs in kindergarten through third grade in Johnston County.

Why is this work so important to you?

I have a passion for inspiring and teaching children about the importance of reading that will give them an incredible advantage throughout life in their endeavors because it sparks a flame for a desire to receive a quality education that can help them become leaders that will change our world. If we can help in any way to inspire kids to read and to do well in grade school, they will be more likely to graduate from high school and go on to further their education from a higher institution like North Carolina State University.

What’s next for the Foundation?

The JOCO Reads Foundation will sponsor events and activities throughout each school year. We plan on having a Back to School Supply Drive in August and in January, activities and appreciation packages for Teacher Appreciation Week, and an End of the Year Gala to raise money and recognize outstanding teachers and philanthropists.

You can make a difference in the lives of students like Luke!

[button]Give Today[/button]