North Charleston Rotary Club helps outfit Military Magnet Academy students

Grace Beahm/Staff

Come Monday morning, each of Military Magnet Academy’s 515 young cadets will be dressed to the nines, thanks to a donation from its neighborhood Rotarians.

On Thursday morning, students and faculty gathered in the school’s gymnasium, where members of the Rotary Club of North Charleston Breakfast presented them with an oversize check for $10,000. The club’s donation will pay for uniforms for two dozen middle school students whose parents couldn’t afford them.

“This is the first year since we’ve been doing this that we will have 100 percent of our students in uniforms on the first day,” said Principal Anderson Townsend.

At Military Magnet, the Army provides uniforms for high school students through the JROTC program, but not for middle school students. Their military-inspired uniform — white shirt, black tie, gray trousers and shiny corfam shoes — cost $300. That’s a hefty price tag at a school where 94 percent of the student body qualifies for free and reduced lunch.

Students who don’t have the money for the uniform are often forced to withdraw during the first two weeks of school, said John Pelletier, development director of Military Magnet’s fundraising arm.

“We should be able to figure out how to get more students in here,” said North Charleston Breakfast President Rob Fifield. “If one of the hurdles is uniforms, then we’ve got to do whatever we can do to remove that hurdle so more and more students can participate.”

Reach Deanna Pan at (843) 937-5764.