Neighboring NC schools deliver more than $21,000 for hurricane flood relief

In the photo for the Public Schools of Robeson County, Board Chair Loistine DeFreece, Superintendent Tommy Lowry and Public Relations Officer Tasha Oxendine accepted the donation on behalf of the district.
In the photo for the Public Schools of Robeson County, Board Chair Loistine DeFreece, Superintendent Tommy Lowry and Public Relations Officer Tasha Oxendine accepted the donation on behalf of the district.

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – During this season of caring and giving, the students and employees of Gaston County Schools are contributing more than $21,000 to four public school districts in eastern North Carolina that were affected by Hurricane Matthew.

At check presentations Wednesday (December 21) in Lumberton and Goldsboro, Gaston school leaders provided $5,450 to each of the four school districts:  Edgecombe County Public Schools, Lenoir County Public Schools, Public Schools of Robeson County, and Wayne County Public Schools.

A presentation was held at 11:00 a.m. in Lumberton to present the funds to Robeson County.  During a 2:00 p.m. ceremony in Goldsboro, checks were presented to school representatives from Edgecombe, Lenoir, and Wayne counties.

Among the Gaston school officials making the trip to eastern North Carolina were Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker and Board of Education chairman Kevin L. Collier.  Others included Chief Communications Officer Todd Hagans, Gaston County Principal of the Year Rebecca Huffstetler from Stanley Middle School, and Cramerton Middle School principal Bryan Denton, who is chairperson of the school district’s Principals Leadership Team.  The Principals Leadership Team coordinated the campaign with the Superintendent’s Office and the Communications/Public Information Department.

The money is the result of the “Nickels 4 Neighbors” fundraising campaign conducted by Gaston County Schools in November.  Each of the 54 public schools in Gaston County as well as the central office department buildings were challenged to collect $200 – the equivalent of 4,000 nickels – to help schoolchildren affected by the flood.

On Friday, November 4, which was “Nickels 4 Neighbors Day” in Gaston County Schools, students brought in their piggy banks, pencil boxes, and Ziploc bags filled with spare change.  Parents, teachers, and other school employees also contributed to the district-wide collection effort.  When all of the collecting and counting was complete, the schools raised $21,952.31, which amounts to more than 439,000 nickels.

“Our schools went beyond expectations to support our ‘Nickels 4 Neighbors’ campaign, and because of their willingness to help others, we are able to present more than $21,000 to four school districts that are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew,” stated Superintendent of Schools W. Jeffrey Booker.  “We know this money will be put to good use, and it is our hope that it will make the holiday season and new year a little brighter for students and their families.”

This is the second “Nickels 4 Neighbors” campaign for Gaston County Schools.  In October 2015 when historic flooding devastated areas of South Carolina, Gaston’s 32,000 students and 3,800 employees rallied around the idea of collecting money for the schools in Clarendon and Williamsburg counties, which are located south of the Florence area.  That campaign was successful, too, as it raised more than $25,000.

“It is heartwarming to know that our school family came together over the past two years to raise approximately $47,000 for flood relief in North and South Carolina,” added Booker.  “In addition to collecting money for a worthy cause, the project gave us an opportunity to teach our children about the importance of giving and caring about your neighbors during a time of great need.”

Booker concluded, “We are so proud of our schools in Gaston County, and we would like to thank every student and every adult who contributed to our fundraising efforts.  And, we know the schools in Edgecombe, Lenoir, Robeson, and Wayne counties appreciate what we’ve done for them through our ‘Nickels 4 Neighbors’ campaign.  It’s all about helping others, which is an essential life lesson for us to teach our students.”

The “Nickels 4 Neighbors” check presentations in Lumberton and Goldsboro were videotaped and will air on Time Warner Cable Channel 21 (Education Station) the week of January 9.

—The information above is from a submitted press release.