Reasons to smile

Published 9:49 pm Monday, March 18, 2019

About 175 students at Booker T. Washington Elementary School had reason to smile on Friday, and so did the adults helping them.

The students were able to get free dental evaluations right at school on board the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Dental Van. The dentists doing the evaluations were happy to help and also happy to be there together.

Dr. Charmaine Walker is a Suffolk Public Schools graduate who is now a dentist in Rocky Mount, N.C. She was working alongside her childhood dentist, Dr. Gloria Johnson-Spruiell, a Newport News dentist who inspired Walker to get into the dentistry field.

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The homecoming of sorts was a great chance to help these students. The children got advice on the importance of brushing, flossing, eating a healthy diet and visiting a dentist twice a year. They got free toothpaste, a toothbrush and brushing instructions. They got the names and contact information of local facilities that can provide further care if the “report card” from their visit was less than stellar.

Overall, the experience for the students was a positive one, filled with the smiling faces and friendly guidance from Johnson-Spruiell and Walker.

This is the third year that the Colgate Dental Van has come to Booker T. Washington through a sponsorship with the Suffolk Chapter of the Links Inc., which received grant money to bring the van to the school.

“We’re here serving,” said Suffolk Links President Duanne Hoffler-Foster.

That’s what’s most important to us — that local people are so willing to serve their community in important and meaningful ways.

We appreciate the Links, as well as Dr. Johnson-Spruiell and Dr. Walker, for their support of local students.