Dollar days add up for Port A elementary

Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017
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Helping Hats

HELPING HATS – Alvord Elementary School students and staff wear hats as part of the school’s effort to raise money for Olsen Elementary School in Port Aransas, which was damaged by Hurricane Harvey. So many students and staff members participated in the donation drive that all couldn’t fit in a single photo. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

While class is officially in session at Alvord Elementary School, students at Olsen Elementary School in Port Aransas won’t be back at their desks until Oct. 16.

The school was damaged by Hurricane Harvey after the storm made landfall Aug. 25, leaving students out of class and forcing staff to pick up the pieces.

Alvord Elementary School counselor Mindy Markum said teachers, who frequently pay for classroom items out-of-pocket, were hit hard by the destruction. Markum helped organize a relief effort for staff at the school to help them pay for destroyed classroom items.

“They’ll have basic needs met, but when teachers think of activities like what our teachers might have stored up ready to do for Halloween, they won’t have those materials. They’ll have to go out and purchase that stuff.

“Our teachers do a lot of out-of-pocket money for their classrooms,” she said. “These teachers’ homes were also devastated, so I wanted that to go right to the teachers to use in their classrooms, not to have to be funneled through somewhere else.”

Now through Oct. 27, Alvord students can pay $1 to wear hats in school for a day, with the money going to staff at Olsen. Staff members at Alvord Elementary can also participate by paying $1 to wear either a hat or jeans for a day.

Markum said she hadn’t heard many news reports about schools there and called the campus to ask about the situation. After working with the school on how to best help, she pitched the idea to Principal Bridget Williams, who supported it. The school does monthly community service projects and opted to make hurricane relief its October goal. School staff will add up donations at the end of the month and send it all south, with the classrooms raising the most money in pre-k through second grade and third through fifth grades receiving pizza parties.

Markum said several parents have made one large donation to cover the whole time period, knowing in advance their students probably won’t wear hats for every one of the days. Community members are also welcome to donate, she said.

“I just wanted to make it easier for them to purchase what they need,” she said.

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