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SWRMS students coordinate relief efforts in response to Hurricane Harvey

SWRMS teacher and students
SWRMS science and math teacher Molly Kenyon talks to her seventh graders about the destruction of Hurricane Harvey as the class tracks Hurricane Irma. These discussions led to a schoolwide relief effort to be held through September 11.

Seventh-grade science students at Southwestern Randolph Middle School saw the devastating images from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and decided they wanted to do something. Then Beta and Service club members heard about the project, and they wanted in. Pretty soon, every grade level decided they wanted to be involved in relief efforts.

"It started as a small science project," math and science teacher Molly Kenyon said. "But the more people involved here, the more people and pets we can help there.

Social studies and language arts teacher Erin Giustizia said, "This drive aligns with my lessons on global citizenship. We watch current news clips of people fighting violently in the streets over confederate statues, race and in the name of religion. However, this week, we saw those divisions set aside in a collective effort to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Our students are thinking globally, and acting locally."

Students took to the Internet to determine what items were most needed, and decided on three: water from sixth grade; pet food from seventh; and 8th graders will bring diapers. "Really, any student or person can bring any item." Kenyon said.  "This is just a suggested guideline."

Science and social studies teacher Lorraine Ridge, an animal rights activist, said the animals on the news impacted by the flood waters are not necessarily neglected or abandoned.

"This flooding was unprecedented, and many owners may have thought their animals were safe. I know I would want to make sure that somebody was feeding and caring for my animals."

Donated items will be packed up and taken to a truck in Siler City and delivered by Darrell Andrews Trucking.  Any community members, businesses or churches who wish to help fill the truck should bring items to the school by Sept. 11. For more info, donors can contact mkenyon@randolph.k12.nc.us.

SWRMS Principal Mike Crider said, "One thing we're really proud of is that this is student driven. While our country seems to be so divided on so many issues, our students saw a need and felt compelled to unite to do something about it."

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