LCPS classes assist Texas counterparts

Fundraise for books lost in Hurricane Harvey

LITTLE CURRENT—The excitement in Little Current Public School (LCPS) teacher Melissa Volpini’s Grade 1 classroom was palpable as her students were joined by Grade 7/8 teacher Mark Volpini’s class for a video call with Rachel Ortiz’s Kolter Elementary School Kindergarten students from Bellaire, Texas.

The LCPS students are focussing this year’s Buddy Time on global projects and they are assisting the Texas Kindergarten class to rebuild the Texas classroom resources.

“I was on Facebook and saw a post about teachers wanting to help fellow teachers after their classrooms were devastated by Hurricane Harvey,” said Ms. Volpini. “I know that teachers put a lot of their own money and resources into their classrooms, so I thought that connection with a teacher in Texas would be a great way for our Coyote Buddies to help. I spoke to Mark (Volpini, her partner) about it and we decided that this year we’d focus our Grade 1 and Grade 7/8 Buddy time on Global Projects.”

Ms. Volpini created a Facebook post “asking for any teachers who needed assistance rebuilding their classroom after the Hurricane.”

She didn’t have long to wait.

“Almost immediately, I received a response from Rachel,” said Ms. Volpini. “She was extremely grateful and was very open to our idea of fundraising as our way to support her Kindergarten class.”

So the project began, and the students have begun fundraising efforts with an eye to purchasing gift cards to be sent to Texas to purchase classroom supplies and resources lost in the hurricane.

Once the Internet connection had been made, and a few technical glitches cleared up, the LCPS students had an opportunity to ask the questions they had been constructing in anticipation of the video chat.

A temporary classroom has been set up in an old school building for the Kolter Elementary School’s Kindergarten and that classroom and students appeared on the whiteboard screen at the front of Ms. Volpini’s classroom—with a corresponding image of the LCPS students and their classroom appearing at the Texas end.

“How did your school get damaged?” asked one student. Kolter students replied that it was actually the rains from Hurricane Harvey that came to Houston that caused the bulk of the damage to their school.

But the Kolter students’ spirits are high. Asked how their situation is now, they replied with an enthusiastic “good!” “We are doing great, happy and so glad to be back at school,” supplied Ms. Ortiz. A question as to whether the Kolter students like their new school also elicited a resounding “yeah!”

The Kolter students in their turn were curious as to whether there was snow outside the LCPS classroom. As it happened, it was snowing at that moment. “Many of the children in our classroom have never seen snow,” supplied Ms. Ortiz.

The Kolter students were very enthusiastic about the books that the LCPS students’ contributions had already made possible. The students have already raised $135 towards the efforts. A $1 levy to participate in a backwards clothes day has proven popular and the students are planning a bake sale as well.

The Kolter students had one final message for their Manitoulin counterparts before the Internet link was severed. “Thank you for our books!” they shouted.