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Students help hurricane victims; Elementary school giving to those in need

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Students at Washington Avenue Elementary School, 408 N. Washington Ave., fill boxes with donations of nonperishable foods and clothing for the needy in the path of Hurricane Harvey. (Submitted Photo)

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Responses to the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area have been phenomenal from all over the country and even from other parts of the world. Roswell has had a number of groups organize help to send as well, from individuals, to first responders, to businesses and even schools.

Washington Avenue Elementary School principal Amanda Arnold is proud of her staff and students for standing up and making a difference.
“My staff came up with the idea,” Arnold said. “I think they had been talking with the children about the devastation. It’s a teachable moment. It’s a tragic moment. I don’t think most of the kids quite understood what a hurricane was and the effect it could have on people.”
The school sent notes home to parents and the response was positive.
“Some of my staff were discussing it with their kids,” Arnold said, “and one of my teachers said, ‘Can we head something up? Could we do something for the victims?’ I said, ‘Absolutely!’ So we sent home labels saying, ‘Please bring canned goods and items for the hurricane.’ I think they got the idea by driving by Farmer’s Country Market and seeing the sign asking for donations. That prompted the whole thing. We make sticker labels to send home with notes for the parents. We make labels for everything.”
Arnold said they will take any nonperishable items that people will donate if it could help.
“We’re collecting any nonperishable items,” she said. “Canned goods, ramen noodles, cereal, anything nonperishable.”
Washington Avenue was able to bring its report card up from last year. Arnold intends to celebrate the staff and kids.

“The students at Washington Avenue have shown success,” she said, “in going from a C to a B in the school report cards. The students are getting more and more involved. We are coming together as a school and our kids are feeling sympathy for the kids their age in the Houston area now.”
Arnold is determined to give her students every opportunity to develop solid character and good citizenship skills.
“This is a chance to talk about the seven pillars of character and empathy,” she said. “We need to instill these values in our kids showing them that they may have problems here, but look at what those kids are going through. It’s important to appreciate what we have here in our hometown.”
She said each teacher has their own unique approach, and that it broadens the learning experience for the whole school.
“You have some teachers that are getting into it,” Arnold said, “telling their students, ‘This is what a hurricane is,’ and incorporating science and social studies into it; and some that are talking about what is going on in the world while the hurricane hits. Each teacher has their own way of approaching it, but they’re all trying to use this time for education.”
Arnold wants to make sure her staff and students know how much she appreciates them and their accomplishments.
“I would like to have all my school come together in the gym,” she said, “and acknowledge them on, not only this accomplishment, but everything else they have done.”
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Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.