Team BCPS rallies behind Oklahoma


As news spread of the recent tornadoes that devastated Oklahoma, Team BCPS jumped into action. Inspired by the images of schools destroyed and the stories of people persevering in the face of loss, students and administrators at many schools began fundraising efforts to help those affected.

Some, like those at Arbutus and West Chester elementary schools, were moved to help victims replace the items lost in the storm. They quickly gathered dozens of boxes of clothing, school supplies and comfort items to send to the area. Others, like Seventh District Elementary, joined in ongoing community relief efforts, working with local groups to make health, school and cleaning supply kits to send to those in need.

The Arbutus Middle School and Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts communities went into their own pockets to donate money for victims. For a $10 donation, Patapsco staff members were permitted to wear shorts or sandals for a day. Those at Arbutus combined student, faculty and staff donations with extra funds left over from a school dance.

But the biggest BCPS effort to help tornado victims started out as the smallest. Students, staff and parents at Essex Elementary School began a penny drive to help the families in Moore, Oklahoma, the town hit hardest by the storms. Students created posters to promote the effort, and within a week, their “Moore Change” campaign had raised more than $1,000 and inspired nearly dozens of other BCPS schools to join in with change drives of their own.

There are 134 BCPS schools now contributing to the Moore Change campaign, with more than $17,500 collected to date. Essex Elementary School Assistant Principal Randy Quinn says campaign contributions continue to come in. “I’m hoping for an average of $1 per [BCPS] student or a total of $100,000,” Randy said. “Every penny helps.”

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