Newark principal awarded $50K for his free laundry program

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NEWARK -

A Newark high school principal was awarded $50,000 to honor his free laundry program to help stop bullying in his school.

West Side High School Principal Akbar Cook says that he noticed that truancy levels in the school were tied to dirty clothes. Students weren’t showing up, they were being bullied or getting into fights because they did not have clean clothing to wear.

Cook put washers and dryers in the school so that students could do laundry for free. The program worked.

“We say that from the time you enter my doors until you're gainfully employed, I'm going to follow you because I really care. I want them to know I'm there. I'm never leaving their side. So they're my babies forever,” Cook said.

Cook was recognized by Ellen DeGeneres on her show for his good work.

“I don't know if you know but my friends at Cheerios are so inspired by what you’re doing to support students, they want you to continue helping people so they're going to give West Side High School a check for $50,000,” DeGeneres said.

Cook will return to campus Monday to celebrate the donation with the students.

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