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Shafter High supports student success in and out of the classroom

The Shafter High School PRIDE (Pride, Respect, Integrity, Determination, Enthusiasm) Pantry gives students the support they need so they can focus on their academic success.
Posted: 6:04 PM, Mar 03, 2023
Updated: 2023-03-03 22:01:44-05
Shafter High School PRIDE Pantry

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — For Shafter High School, PRIDE means so much more than just having confidence in their school. The letters, which stand for Pride, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Enthusiasm, are a Shafter Generals motto, and it means no matter what, they are a community, and they will be there for each other.

One way Shafter High is doing that is through their PRIDE Pantry. Shafter High intervention teacher Katie Young says the pantry came together during the pandemic, when their team realized many students needed extra assistance.

"We just wanted to be able to alleviate some of the stress and the feelings of overwhelmingness that we kept seeing time and time again, so we started providing just the basic necessities," said Young.

Food and hygiene items are just some of the things available at the PRIDE Pantry. Students, like junior America Ramirez, say the community investment makes it possible for the pantry to help students beyond the classroom.

"At some point, everyone kind of needs a little help. My family for sure has had trouble over the past couple years, and if we wouldn't known that Shafter High did something like this, I'm pretty sure it would've been a lot easier," said Ramirez.

As one of the students who helps out with the pantry operation, Ramirez says one of her goals is to spread awareness about the resource.

"One of my friends, I found out she was struggling, and apparently not a lot of people know that we do this," said Ramirez. "I brought her to the room and we let her get whatever she thought her family needed, and they really appreciated that."

Young says the goal of the pantry is to relieve some of the pressure on students and let them focus on school.

"We found that they were also struggling financially and physically just to maintain the everyday responsibilities on top of the academic challenge, which was something we had to deal with at the same time," said Young.

According to Young, community support and donations has filled the pantry with things for students and their families.

"Laundry soap and things like that, the feminine hygiene products, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste," Young lists. "We even have baby clothes and children's clothing to help with families that have younger siblings."

Shafter High senior Luciano Burnias says he uses the clothes to help his friends on a daily basis.

"I talked to some of them and even showed them it, and brought them over if they needed some stuff. It benefitted them a lot because, like, they could be missing a jacket or not have a jacket that day, and it's cold, and you just come take them here, and they can have it and keep it," said Burnias.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors recently approved funding to be contributed to the pantry. Shafter High School Principal Russell Shipley says all the support is an indication of how everyone comes together.

"This is just another great testament of our community coming together, and it was an idea a couple years ago, and that idea has now grown into… It's just amazing, because the PRIDE and the giving of the community, and those who have supported with materials and items, even to just financial contributions," said Shipley. "And they do that because of the pride we want our community and our parents, our families taken care of."

Young adds that the work the faculty puts into the PRIDE Pantry is what continues to fuel their hearts.

"As far as the reward, it's immeasurable, based on the actual, genuine appreciation of our students and families," said Young. "All of us are moms, so when we go out and drop off deliveries, we're blessed. We have a lot that we can give back, and so it fills our hearts and our souls."

Shafter High PRIDE Pantry is continuing to grow. The school is now looking to expand the amount of space dedicated to the pantry, which is always accepting more donations.

If you would like to donate to the Shafter High PRIDE Pantry, you can visit their website where you will find a list of items the students need, as well as a way to contribute financially to the pantry's goals.


Nonprofit hunger-relief organization Feeding America keeps track of hunger and food insecurity in the United States. According to their 2020 report, just under 23 percent of people under the age of 18 living in Kern County were experiencing food insecurity. This translates into nearly 59,000 children.

The report also says 84 percent of children in Kern County that year were eligible for the Federal Nutrition Assistance Program that year.

The price of a school lunch has also increased over time. Feeding America says the national average price for a school lunch increased from $2.97 in 2017 to $3.19 in 2020.