Students provide hurricane relief to Houston school

Fourth graders at Angelo L. Tomaso School (ALT) recently spearheaded a schoolwide project to provide much needed supplies to a Texas elementary school that sustained serious water damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The ALT students partnered with Johnson Elementary School, a school of roughly 1,000 students in Houston, after Reach enrichment teacher Wendy Piller and principal Christine Smith reached out to Johnson’s principal Pamela Riggans-Johnson to see how ALT could help.
“Ms. Riggans-Johnson explained that a great deal of water damage had wiped out the school’s supply of tissue boxes, folders, and composition notebooks,” says Piller. “Additionally, there were students whose homes were destroyed who were in need of many supplies, including backpacks.”
Armed with that information, the 4th graders in Piller’s Reach, Too class formed a social action plan last month, first researching the effects of Hurricane Harvey and creating a slideshow and speech to present to their schoolmates in grades kindergarten through grade five. The group wrote daily reminders to be broadcast during morning announcements and sought the help of ALT parents to spread the word.
“It was a fabulous opportunity,” says Joseph Pontoriero who with his fellow Reach classmates was happy to see so many ALT families join together for a good cause.
The fundraiser lasted until Halloween after which the students separated, counted and packed the items. All in all, 201 tissue boxes, 204 folders, 202 composition notebooks and 105 backpacks were collected.
“We never thought we would gather so many supplies,” 4th graders Demiana Doss and Kayla Peng note. “It was amazing that we had such enthusiastic participation.”
Aware of the high cost of shipping, the students touched base with Nelly Pucci, president of the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization who, with her fellow PTO members, generously agreed to pay to ship the donated items.
“This project was a complete group effort,” Piller says. “The students learned that good planning, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity were key components in seeing a longrange plan, and somewhat daunting project, come to fruition. Empowering our children to make the world a better place in which to live is a core theme taught within our schools.”

(above, l-r) ALT 4th graders Mia Pucci, Raina Shah, Demiana Doss, Joseph Pontoriero, and Darren Xu spearhead schoolwide effort to collect supplies for a Houston elementary school damaged during Hurricane Harvey.
Photo by Warren Township Schools.