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Sending help across the world

By Staff
HJHS raises $7,700 for tsunami relief
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle Junior High School students have raised the largest single donation from a group or organization in Morgan and Lawrence counties for American Red Cross Tsunami Relief.
Jodie Fuqua, a social studies teacher at HJHS, presented $7,700 last Friday to Susan Codding, executive director of the American Red Cross Morgan-Lawrence County Chapter. Codding called the students' achievement remarkable.
"This is the largest single donation we have received, and certainly one of the biggest we have ever received from a school for any effort," Codding said. "Tsunami relief is farther reaching than just rebuilding homes. It's for immediate and long-term needs like water purification and disease control. The students should be really proud of themselves for helping with these efforts."
Fuqua said students were already talking about wanting to help the victims of the Dec. 26 Asian tsunami when they returned to school Jan. 4. A segment on school news Channel One that same day explained how much $5,000 would help with relief efforts.
"The story said $5,000 could employ many people who had lost their homes and jobs because of the tsunami for one month," Fuqua recalled. "I had already kind of set my mind on raising $800 or maybe $1,000, but I thought we could reach $5,000 if we really tried."
The goal was set and Fuqua placed a change jug in the lunchroom the very next day to kickoff the school-wide campaign. After only three days of change collections, the jug held $800.
Teachers, students, parents and members of the community have since worked together on six major fundraising events, as well as collecting cash and supply donations from the community.
"This was a school-wide effort from the beginning," Fuqua explained. "The students and I were so proud and excited each time we had a new total. Every teacher in the school has offered to help."
The events and the total donations raised at each event are as follow:
Hat Day, $424: Students purchased $1 permits to wear their favorite hat to school.
Spare Change Friday, $2,650: Students skipped ice cream, brought their allowances, and donated any spare change they could find. Fuqua said she would stay up rolling change at night to show students how the change quickly added up.
Winter Dance, $1,542: Students paid $5 admission and weathered a cold evening to have fun and raise funds for their project. Randy Putman donated DJ services.
Ugly Walk, $1,300: The community paid $3 admission to see good-humored students compete for the title of Miss Ugly and Queen Ugly.
Candy Break, $548: Local vendors donated candy to be sold to students as a mid-day treat for 50 cents per piece.
Faculty Basketball Game, $1,236: The community paid $3 admission to watch HJHS faculty members hit the courts as players and cheerleaders. Local vendors and Pepsi donated concessions to raise additional funds for the event.
"There are so many who helped with all of our efforts," Fuqua said. "I think because of last year's hurricanes in the Gulf, the students and the community really understood the need of the tsunami victims. Everyone really pulled together to help meet and exceed our goal."
According to a Feb. 16 report from the American Red Cross, more than $280.5 million of the $341.4 million in pledges has been received by the organization for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Funds raised continue to provide aid in south Asia and east Africa by bringing lifesaving relief supplies and resources to tsunami victims who lost their families, homes and livelihoods.
To date, $1.2 billion has been pledged worldwide for tsunami relief.