Major announcement made at school breakfast

Sue Kraft
Devils Lake Public Schools Superintendent Scott Privratsky is all smiles as he thanks Nash Finch and Leevers Foods for donating $157,500 to the district to purchase new iPads for the students.

300 new iPads donated to Devils Lake schools

“It is exciting to think about the difference you can make in your community when good partners come together to tackle a problem,” said Robert Leevers, President of Leevers Foods.

Leevers Foods has joined forces with the Nash Finch Company to provide resource rooms to St. Joseph Elementary School and the Devils Lake Public School District. Each room will be equipped with 10 new iPads.

A surprise announcement was made this morning in the commons area of Devils Lake High School during a staff breakfast. First Lady Betsy Dalrymple was the featured guest.

"That's right," said Devils Lake Superintendent of Schools Scott Privratsky to the excited crowd of returning educators. "300 iPads in 30 resource rooms across the district!"

Alec Covington, the President and CEO of Nash Finch Company, said they were looking for a way to give back to the community that has given them so much. So, when the Leevers family told him about the need for additional technology resources in the schools, they were eager to help.

“Both companies have strong ties to the Devils Lake community,” he said. “Nash Finch Company started in Devils Lake in 1885 and Leevers Foods in 1938. Our companies are part of the fabric of the Devils Lake community and are proud to have helped with this worthy project.”

Covington said his wife is a retired school teacher and he remembers in the late 1970s when money was short and they would sit down on Sundays and allocate lunch money for the week. He said he became worried when he noticed his wife packing a brown bag lunch each day, wondering how she was using the extra cash.

"She was taking her lunch money to buy things for the classroom that she couldn't get through the budget," he said. "It's a story I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with."

Covington said it always bothered him, but at that point in his life he was powerless to help.

"There wasn't much I could do about it then," he said. "But there's something I can do about it now, 33 years later."

On behalf of Nash Finch and Leevers Foods, he presented a check for $157,500 to the school district.

Privratsky said they are “excited and grateful” for the gift.

"Thank you does not seem enough," he said. “Our goal is to provide technology learning opportunities that will have a positive impact on student achievement. On behalf of the students in Devils Lake, I want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Nash Finch Company and Leevers Foods for taking a leadership role in education in our community.”

North Dakota's First Lady, also a retired school teacher, then took the podium to personally thank the two companies for the donation.

"You can just feel the energy in this room," she said. "I know the importance of technology in success... the opportunities and possibilities are so great."

It was also announced during the breakfast event that the Leevers Family has established a scholarship fund that will award a $500 scholarship each year to a Devils Lake student who demonstrates community service, leadership qualities and financial need.

"To Bob, Carol and the Leevers Family, thank you so much for creating this scholarship to help support the needs of a child on our community," said Covington.

The first day of classes for the Devils Lake Public Schools will be Monday, Aug. 27.