By Andrew L. Basden
Newcastle Public Schools is paying it forward by sending much-needed school supplies to students affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
Newcastle is no stranger when it comes to disasters. For decades tornadoes have wreaked havoc leaving behind miles of destruction. Each time a disaster hit, communities from all over provided support and supplies that were badly needed by the community, school, and businesses.
Hurricane Harvey started its path of destruction over 2 weeks ago. Neighborhoods, businesses, homes, and schools all around Houston have been severely damaged, if not completely destroyed by Harvey.
In a September 3 article by Foxnews.com, 53 Houston schools have major damage and at least 22 will be closed for several more months, and 200 Houston schools suffered heavy damage from Harvey.
Teachers in Houston that were damaged are uncertain when they will be returning to their classrooms.
In southwest Houston teachers are gathering at Kingdom Builders Center for a week of planning, collaboration and skills for how to best meet the emotional needs of students.
Communities from all over the United States, and even world are sending supplies to Houston and Newcastle is right there with them.
NPS is now paying that same generosity it received forward.
Partnering with a school located in Houston, NPS is collecting supplies brought by students and will be sending them down to Houston.
Below is the letter sent out by Newcastle Public Schools Superintendent Tony O’Brien.
Good afternoon Racers,
This is Superintendent Tony O’Brien letting you know about a project that we are kicking off this weekend. In the wake of the natural disasters that have, are, and may be affecting our country in the very near future, I wanted to let each of you know about a opportunity that we have to help some of the neediest of students who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the associated flooding in Houston. If you can remember those dark days following the tornadoes in Newcastle and Moore and how communities from around the country gave to support us (semi truck loads of supplies), we as a district felt like it would be appropriate for us to pay it forward. Therefore, we have partnered with a school in Houston, Texas, Blackshear Elementary School which serves about 500 Pre-k through Fifth Grade students to help in their time of need. In visiting with their principal, Mrs. Lewis, she stated that her “scholars” desperately needed school supplies and specifically school uniform articles of clothing. The majority of their children come from very low-income homes and the flooding has completely washed away most of the articles that the students need to be successful at school. Therefore, we as a district are going to collect as many school supplies and school uniforms starting on Monday of next week and going through Thursday afternoon. We will be shipping those items to the school as soon as possible following the closing of the collection time. Blackshear Elementary is going to attempt to start school on Monday so time is of the essence for them. There will be flyers posted on our website and other digital resources as well as paper copies going home with our elementary students concerning the specifics of items to donate. The specifics for the uniforms will also be listed on that flyer. Please try and keep your purchases to the items on the list for ease of transport and for the needs of the students. We CANNOT accept any forms of cash or monetary donations for this project at this point. Each school site here in Newcastle as well as the administration building will be a drop-off/collection site for donated articles. I know that we as Racers can make a huge impact on the lives of these students through this project. I also think, if we really believe in our mission and vision statements of helping our own students be contributing members of tomorrow’s society through character and social development that this is a great project for them also.
I’m ALL N, how about you?
The items they are looking for are:
- Colored Pencils
- Red or black polo shirt (youth size, for school uniform)
- Blue, khaki, or black pants (youth size, for school uniform)
- School scissors
- Children’s books
- Children’s socks
- Pink erasers
- Children’s Underwear
- Children’s shoes
- Glue sticks
NPS will be collecting these items through September 14, 2017.
The school is hoping that by sending these items the children of Houston will be able to go to school each day and return to some type of normal routine.
Each school has a collection site with boxes for items to be placed in. If you are a parent of a Newcastle Student, they can drop any items in the boxes that are located in the building they attend.
“It’s nice to have a connection with a specific school and know where our donations are going and that they are appreciated,” Tammy Bolles ECC Title I Reading Teacher said.
The Public is also invited to donate items. They can be dropped off at the administration building located at 101 N. Main St.