HUNTSVILLE – Sam Houston State’s school-supply drive received a major boost on Monday.

Academy Sports & Outdoors donated 100 backpacks to aid in the initiative put on by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The retailer, and partner of Sam Houston athletics, presented the backpacks to SAAC on Monday afternoon.

“We’re tremendously appreciative of the large donation and support from Academy,” Chris Thompson, associate athletic director of student services said. “It’s special for SAAC to be able to give to such a worthy cause and have the backing of Academy and our community in doing so.”

All supplies are set to be donated to Scott Johnson Elementary. Sam Houston’s 17 teams collected items to assist the school including Kleenex, scissors (round edges), glue sticks, hand sanitizer, No. 2 pencils, 16-count crayons, wide-ruled notebook paper and spiral/composition books.

“Being a part of SAAC is a big honor for me,” sophomore men’s golfer Noah Steele said. “It means a lot to represent men’s golf and athletics. This university is such a big part of Huntsville and I learned that right from the get-go. The fact that it has that small-town feel and that everyone wants to help, including the businesses around Huntsville is really cool to see.”

Bearkat athletics has a history of supporting Scott Johnson Elementary including the department’s Bearkat Mentor Program which allows the athletes to serve as positive examples and role models for the children.

“I would give back all the championships and playoff appearances but what we do with the mentor program is one of the most special things I do right now,” senior tight end Ragan Henderson said. “It’s our way to connect with the community and kids. Every time we go there, they are super excited. It’s some of the highlights of their day.”

SAAC is comprised of representatives from all sports in Bearkat Athletics and is a group who initiates community service efforts throughout the year. The group has contributed to local school-supply drives for the last 11 years, receiving a list of supplies needed to replenish the classroom and help those children who do not have the resources to make it through the year.

“Helping with the school supplies is something special,” Henderson said. “What we do is super important to families in need; especially for kids who don’t get a whole lot at home. We’re somebody extra just to put an extra smile on their face. If we can, we will.”