Bee County school children raise money for Haiti earthquake victims
by Scott Reese Willey
Jan 22, 2010 | 3084 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bee County school children raise money for Haiti earthquake victims
R.A. Hall Elementary School fifth-graders Roberto Luna, left, and Colton Elliott show off one of six large coffee cans that fellow students filled with coins and bills this week to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Students enrolled in the school’s gifted and talented program — known as Pathways — organized the fundraiser, which netted $462.79 over the three-day period. Pathways students Haley Gutierrez, Rebecca Gibson and Makayla Martinez, from left, sort through cans of coins on Thursday.
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R.A. Hall Elementary School fifth-grader Brittany Colunga and Allison Gonzales usually buy ice cream during Friday lunch hour.

This week they, and hundreds of other students, spent their allowances on a more noble cause: helping the earthquake victims in Haiti.

Brittany, Allison and the rest of the fifth-grade Pathways students took up a collection for the Haiti relief effort.

The students, who are in Denise Salvagno’s gifted and talented class, placed collection cans around campus on Monday.

By the end of the school day Friday the cans were filled with hundreds of dollars in coins and cash — $462.79 to be exact.

“We expected to get a lot of coins but we didn’t expect to get dollar bills,” Salvagno said. “But you could hear kids around campus say they would do without ice cream to help the people in Haiti.”

Pathways student Rebecca Gibson said the class collected $115 in one dollar bills, plus six large coffee cans of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters over the three-day period.

Fifth-grader Makayla Martinez said the class will take the cans of coins to the local H-E-B store after school on Friday and use the CoinExpress machine there to sort and count the change.

Because the money will go to a good effort, H-E-B and the owner of the vending machine will not take their usual 8 percent fee typically charged to convert the coins into bills, GT student Haley Gutierrez explained.

She said a button on the vending machine will automatically forward the proceeds to UNICEF, which is helping Haiti victims recover from the devastating magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rocked the island nation last week.

Moreno Middle School students also raised money for the Haiti relief effort.

Here’s how: each Friday kids can buy their way out of wearing the clothing prescribed by the campus’ dress code. For $1 students can wear a shirt that while appropriate does not meet the dress code. For another dollar the students can wear blue jeans or other items not allowed under the dress code.

“We call it ‘nut days,’ a day when the students can opt out of the dress code for a small fee,” a secretary explained.

The money typically goes to extracurricular school events and field trips.

This week, however, the school’s National Junior Honor Society encouraged students to “opt out” of the dress code all week long with the knowledge that the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross’ Haiti relief effort.

The fundraiser was a stunning success, raising $664, said teacher Lisa Latcham, who oversees the National Junior Honor Society at Moreno Middle School along with teacher Jessica Carranco.

“The idea for the fundraising came from one of our students, Richard Moreno. He emphatically thought that our school should help. The NJHS decided to sponsor the event,” Latcham said.

“The generosity of our student body and faculty is no surprise. We are a family here. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen our campus come together to help and it will certainly not be the last.”

FMC Elementary School fifth-graders and their teachers are also planning a fund-raiser in the near future to help Haiti victims.

Skidmore-Tynan High School students are also doing their part to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.

“The Student Council has put collection jars up around campus and is asking students to skip sodas and snacks and donate to a good cause,” said Principal Patty Holubec.

Sherry Bowers, communications director for the American Red Cross’ Coastal Bend Chapter, said donations are pouring in from across the region.

“We have tons of fundraisers going on all over the Coastal Bend,” she said. “People are calling me and asking me what they can do to help the people in Haiti. They want to do more than just donate on their own. They want to organize a fundraiser.”

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