Local elementary school hosts benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims

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By Nancy Edwards

Those affected by Hurricane Sandy’s devastating attack on the East Coast are not limited to the area’s residents. Some students and teachers of Hoosier Road Elementary School in Fishers either witnessed the destruction happening, have cherished memories of places destroyed, or are worried about their friends and families who have been without electricity and running water.

“I lived in New Jersey,” said Leslie Fisher, a first grade teacher whose class is part of the REACH program for high ability students at Hoosier Road Elementary. “My family was upset with the devastation.”

Fisher and other teachers from the school showed their students videos, pictures and flyers of the storm, including damage done to the roller coaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. “The kids were upset that the boardwalk was ruined.”

Some of the teachers began discussing ideas for how to help the East Coast. The students wanted to see the roller coaster rebuilt. Plans were quickly made to host a benefit with a boardwalk theme.

Within just one week, students from the REACH program created and completed 15 games and activities for the event—from a football toss to miniature golf to a silent auction. They also created a miniature boardwalk and hung pictures and letters on the wall. On Nov. 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the Boardwalk Benefit was held in Hoosier Road Elementary’s cafeteria. Guests of the festive event listened to beach music and watched dancing by students and teachers, who had leis wrapped around their necks.

Students were asked to donate $1 to attend the event. The total amount of money raised from the event was over $1,600, which went toward the Red Cross.

Hoosier Road Elementary focuses on character building and various opportunities for students to serve. Participating in events like the Boardwalk Benefit gives students an “understanding perspective value of gratitude and being thankful for what they have,” said Will Hurst, principal of Hoosier Road Elementary “We give back to others who may not have what we do.”

Emily Damson’s first-grade daughter Alyssa made bracelets and maracas to sell to help raise money for the benefit. “I think it’s great,” Damson said of service projects. “For my daughter, this event helped her understand the East Coast tragedy and affected people. It’s been good for (students) to learn about what the community can do to help one another.”

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