Fundraising event was experience in compassion

The Kent School District went largely unscathed by the winter flooding late last year, but school districts in other parts of the state weren’t so fortunate.

  • Thursday, May 1, 2008 6:07pm
  • News

Students raise funds for flooded school

The Kent School District went largely unscathed by the winter flooding late last year, but school districts in other parts of the state weren’t so fortunate.

Washington Elementary School in the Centralia School District is one school still recovering from the damage done by more than 14 inches of standing water in its halls and classrooms, but its suffering hasn’t gone unnoticed. The students of one Kent school are preparing to send Washington Elementary a gift that says, “We’re here to help.”

The student council at Lake Youngs Elementary School in Kent usually organizes a fundraising event around Valentine’s Day, selling “candy-grams” to raise money for the Student Council Fund. But this February, the council also decided to raise money for another cause.

“We thought it would be good for our kids to learn about compassion; about what it means to do something for someone else,” said Chris Banks, Lake Youngs principal.

Banks consulted a list she had of schools in need, calling around until she was referred to Washington Elementary. She spoke to the principal there, discovering that the school had had a long, hard winter recovering from the high levels of flooding in its region.

“They had over 14 inches of water in their school, so they’ve had to replace almost everything,” Banks said. “Insurance covers a lot of that, but there are some things that just can’t be replaced.”

Banks turned the project over to the student council.

“We first sent out a letter that said we were doing a fundraiser and asked for a dollar from everyone,” said sixth-grader Lexi Klinkenberg, 12, student council president.

The council asked that each student give just a dollar for the cause. Then they went to work making paper flower pots with paper flowers, asking every student at the school to write a message of encouragement on a flower.

“We only asked the kids to bring a dollar donation, so we were thinking we’d get around $500,” Banks said. “But we actually doubled that and raised about $1,100.”

The money and the encouraging flower pots soon will be sent to Washington Elementary or dropped off personally by a school representative. Banks said the money may be used to replace books or other school supplies, or it might go to help one of the many families in the school’s community that were affected by the storm.

Lake Youngs staff also will include in the donation funds raised to help send a student from Washington Elementary to summer camp.

Klinkenberg said she and the rest of the student council have enjoyed working on the fundraising event, and she has learned some valuable lessons through the process.

“I think it’s really nice, because we get to help others and learn about other schools that are in need,” she said. “We learned how to show compassion and be kind and help people out.”

Contact Daniel Mooney at 253-437-6012 or dmooney@reporternewspapers.com.

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