The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Local Education

December 25, 2013

Valley Grove fifth-graders send items for schools hit by tornadoes

Local kids spearhead effort to collect school supplies

ANDERSON — During this Christmas break, Valley Grove School Principal Jan Koeniger planned to fill up her car with pencils, notebooks and other school supplies. She'll drive them to the Tippecanoe School Corp. near Lafayette.

The school system's Mintonye and Southwestern schools were damaged when tornadoes touched down on Nov. 17. About 900 students needed to move to temporary classrooms elsewhere.

Koeniger will also be carrying a check for $300 from the Valley Grove fifth grade to the Tippecanoe School Corp. students.

When Valley Grove students returned to school after the Thanksgiving break, the three fifth-grade classes began collecting school supplies for the displaced Tippecanoe students. They called it the Tippecanoe Tornado Disaster Relief.

"They faxed us a list of the items they were in need of," said Valley Grove fifth-grade teacher Traci Gossett. "We passed the word along to our students and teachers. And our students have been bringing in items ever since."

In addition to Gossett's class, the fifth-grade classrooms of teachers Heather Barrow and Beth French also helped pitch in and organize the relief effort. "Everybody in the school has brought in items and donated supplies," Gossett said.

Before the Christmas break, a table had been set up at Valley Grove Elementary School to hold donated items. A sign above it read: "Our school helping another school rebuild, one pencil, one notebook at a time."

"They wanted basic school supplies," Gossett said. "They needed rulers, paper, folders, markers, pencils — office supplies that a teacher or student would need."

Koeniger said she was proud of the fifth-graders and teachers for coming up with the tornado relief idea.

"As educators I think they realize how devastated they'd be if this happened to our building," Koeniger said. "You walk into your school and you don't have simple things that you take for granted. And for them to come up with this and spearhead it, I think it's great."

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