Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Students respond to hurricane relief

Express Staff Writer

In an overwhelming response, students across Blaine County extended efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"The people in New Orleans need the help," said Jean Bohl, Wood River High School National Honor Society advisor. "We were happy to do a little thing for them. It speaks well of the young people in our valley in that they are stepping up, as well as their parents. People were very generous in their donating."

The school's National Honor Society generated over $9,600 for Katrina victims. With help from the Parent Organization, the students raised $7,000 at booths located at Atkinsons' Markets in Hailey and Ketchum. Funds also arrived at the football games and through other donations.

"It was the thing to do. Students came and talked to me and we decided to do something," Bohl said.

Hailey Elementary students also decided to take action. A spare change collection effort ended Friday, Sept. 16 with donations totaling approximately $4,000. The children held bake sales and donated money earned through house chores and babysitting to generate money for the American Red Cross.

"They have done it by bringing in pennies and nickels and dimes," Hailey Elementary School secretary Jane Nixon said. "It was moving to see. They took it really seriously,"

At the Carey School, the student council organized the "We've got your back" effort. Seventh to 12th-grades classes stuffed backpacks with pens, pencils, paper and other school supplies to assist displaced students. Twenty backpacks will be sent Wednesday, Sept. 21 to a school in Houston, Texas where the supplies will be distributed to students in need.

At the homecoming football game Friday, Sept. 16, the Carey School encouraged attendees to donate school supplies. The donations collected included a slew of Beanie Babies stuffed animals that will be included with the supplies. Toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss were also donated.

Kindergarten through sixth-grade Carey students contributed to the effort by organizing a coin drive to raise money to ship the backpacks; remaining funds will be donated to the American Red Cross.

"Hopefully it can make a huge difference for the students in need," Carey School Principal John Peck said.

Hemingway Elementary students are also participating with a three-pronged effort, collecting clothes, money and school supplies.

"The kids themselves have wanted to be involved--they do show compassion," Hemingway Principal Don Haisley said.

Last week six boxes of clothes collected from students were shipped to the south.

Wood River Middle School students also staged a school-wide effort, raising $700. The effort includes a student initiative to compile over 1,200 packages of essential goods for hurricane victims.

A follow-up story Friday will detail middle school students' contributions.

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