Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 23, 2014

Students raise money for Oklahoma

By ANDY HALLMAN | Jun 05, 2013
Washington Elementary School students count the money their school raised for the victims of the tornado that hit Oklahoma May 20. Pictured are, from left, Jeremy Crile, Nathan Whitney, Yana Gaskell and Helen Drish. The students encouraged their classmates to donate by making posters, such as the one seen hanging from the table.

Students in the Fairfield Community School District have raised more than $3,000 to help the victims of a tornado that struck Moore, Okla.

The tornado that hit Moore May 20 killed 24 people, injured 377, and severely damaged two elementary schools among many other buildings, according to the Associated Press.

The three elementary schools in the district raised money for the tornado victims every day last week. Students brought different denominations of money each of the holiday-shortened four-day week. Not only that, they dressed up according to a different theme each day of the week.

Students were asked to bring nickels on Tuesday, dimes on Wednesday, quarters on Thursday and dollars on Friday. As far as the dress up days were concerned, Tuesday was Hat Day, Wednesday was Mismatch Day, Thursday was Pajama Day and Friday was Trojan Spirit Day.

Sarah Bender, secretary at Libertyville Elementary School, said her school’s students were very excited to help people in need.

Samantha Freeman, fourth grade teacher at Pence Elementary, said Pence’s dress up days were a little different. The students did Mismatch Day on Tuesday, Backwards Day on Wednesday, Sports Day on Thursday and Trojan Day on Friday. Regardless of the particular theme of the day, she said the students just enjoyed dressing up.

“The kids found that really fun,” she said. “It encouraged more kids to participate.”

The idea to do a week-long fundraiser originated with Heather Buckley and her class of fourth-graders at Washington Elementary School. Buckley talked to teachers at Libertyville and Pence elementary schools, and they wanted to raise money, too.

Buckley said she told her class about the tornadoes in Oklahoma and the destruction and loss of life they’ve caused.

“We talked about how many people lost their homes and how some of the schools are gone,” she said. “The kids wanted to make a difference for those students.”

Buckley has been thoroughly impressed at how eager the students are to help the tornado victims.

“A lot of them have taken the initiative to raise money outside of school and to bring it in for the program,” she said. “It’s been really refreshing to see so many kids want to take part. The students care a lot. Many of them are donating their allowances.”

Washington Elementary School Principal Jeff Eeling said the fundraising effort was nothing short of “awesome.”

“It’s good for the kids to realize other people in the world are in need,” he said. “Sometimes those are people outside our school who we don’t know.”

Eeling said when it came time to take the coins to the bank to be counted, he couldn’t carry them all.

“That’s what’s neat about this community,” he said. “It saw a need and reached out to another community, even with no personal connection to Moore, Oklahoma.”

Libertyville Elementary School had a tornado scare of its own. Thursday, high winds came through the area and forced the students into a tornado shelter.

“The whole situation was ironic,” Eeling said, considering the students were in the process of raising money for tornado victims. “It made it much more real for the kids.”

The Fairfield High School National Honor Society and Student Council have also gotten into the act of giving. They have started “Change for Change,” a fundraiser from May 28 through Friday to benefit the Oklahoma Red Cross. All classrooms at the high school have had containers in which students may place donations.

Beginning today and lasting through June 26, containers will be placed in local businesses for the community to help with the drive.

Fairfield Community School Superintendent Art Sathoff said the district’s efforts to aid the tornado victims are symptomatic of a culture of generosity.

“We have an incredible school and community when it comes to giving and showing concern for others,” he said. “When we have students or staff members face tough times, the school always pulls together. Usually it is an individual student or teacher who steps up and says, ‘I think we should help. . .’ and many others jump in willingly and enthusiastically. This is one of the great things about Fairfield.”

The $3,038 the district has raised for the tornado victims will go to the Oklahoma State School board Association Tornado Relief Fund.

 

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