Bellwood-Antis Schools help hurricane victims through a variety of relief efforts

Bellwood-Antis School District staff and students are not to be left out when it comes to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout the elementary, middle and high schools, students have come together with teachers and staff to help raise money and gather supplies to be shipped to New Orleans. Through a variety of different fund raisers, the district has really stepped up, collecting everything from school supplies to pillows and blankets.
In early September, a district-wide project began in the home economics classrooms. Many of the hurricane victims were relocated to the north, so students began making fleece blankets, pillows, hats, scarves, mittens and tote bags to donate to the Red Cross which will then distribute the items to those in need.
Home economics teachers, Mrs. Mary Kay O’Connor and Mrs. Gail Reitz, set up a time each Tuesday for students to stay after school and work on the project.
A display case outside of the home economics rooms shows the group’s progress. The case was first filled with the raw materials the group had gathered. The Carpenter Company donated pillow stuffing, parents donated fabric and the chorus donated money for fabric and other materials.
Students worked on a variety of jobs after school including cutting material, pinning and sewing.
O’Connor said the students worked on whatever part they were comfortable with. The end resulted in a duffle bag pillow case, when the pillow is removed, the case can be used as a duffle bag.
“I had some very faithful kids who came and helped,” said O’Connor.
Finished projects were moved into the hall display case and eventually sent to the Red Cross.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes got involved by creating “Heart-to-Heart Kid Kits” that were assembled together as a district-wide project.
To gather the necessary materials, the group started by asking each grade in elementary, middle and high school to bring in certain items. Letters were sent home to students in each grade explaining their specified items. Then, the students brought the items to their classrooms for collection.
Once the collection was complete, volunteers helped put the kits together.
Mr. Randy Miller, FCA advisor gave credit to two students, Arin Cherry and Stephanie Moyer for really getting this project going.
Working together, the district helped fill 50 boxes, each containing a comb, a box of 24 crayons, a toothbrush, a jump rope, a ruler, yo-yo, child’s scissors, a ball, pencil sharpener, toothpaste, six pencils, a small musical instrument, a slinky, paper, an eraser and a stuffed bear. The items were all packaged into a clear, plastic shoebox to be sent to those in need.
The BAHS National Honor Society collected cash for the relief fund. They began collecting at the Bellwood-Antis – Tyrone football game and continued collecting at the school during homeroom. In total, the group collected $1,312.
Mrs. Christine Claar said she wanted to thank both the Bellwood and Tyrone communities.
“It’s so great the communities can come together for such a great cause,” she said.
A lot of the money raised was from the football game, according to Claar, who said, “We’re rivals on the football field but both communities really came together to help raise this money.”
The Bellwood-Antis Student Council and homecoming court came up with their own unique way of raising money to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Led by Ms. Susan Kovensky, the group sponsored a “Skit Night” at the high school auditorium. Each of the girls in the homecoming court put on a skit involving herself, a senior athlete, a middle school girl, a friend, an escort and a girl. The groups came up with their own skit to perform. There were also other events including a makeover, an obstacle race with tricycles and human ice cream sundaes.
A DJ was on hand to introduce everybody.
“We’re always looking for new ideas to add to the homecoming activities,” said Kovensky.
She explained that originally the group wanted to donate to local charities but then Katrina hit.
“I told them this was the year to try the skits,” she said.
Individuals were charged $1 to attend the event. The money raised was put together with that raised by the National Honor Society and sent off to help with hurricane relief.
In the middle school, the student council sponsored a fundraiser, “Making Tracks for a Better Future”. Students sold paper footprints during the lunch period. The footprints sold for 50 cents each. Once purchased, the footprints were personalized and then placed along the wall in the cafeteria.
In total, $125 was raised selling the footprints. That money was given to the home economics department to help purchase supplies for their ongoing hurricane relief efforts.