The students and teachers of East County Lee High School at 715 Thomas Sherwin Ave. S. in Lehigh Acres, have raised $1,000 in donations for the people of Haiti following the earthquake there on January 12.
Mark Dietzler, a career specialist and Key Club adviser, said the money came from two large jars that students and teachers put donations in to help quake victims. Most of the money is currency, but one donation was a $100 check. The project was sponsored by the school's Key Club, Dietzler said.
"The kids put everything from pennies to paper money in the jars," Dietzler said.
Jeffrey St.Firman, a student at E. Lee County High School and a member of the Key Club, holds one of two jars that students and teachers put $1,000 in to aid victims of Haiti. Photo hy MEL TOADVINE
"I'm really proud of our Key Club members. They worked hard to do this project and we are very happy that we could help with the $1,000," Dietzler said.
Jeffrey St.Firman, a student at the school, whose parents are from Haiti, said the students were generous with their donations. He said some students gave their lunch money.
Dietzler said he was especially impressed because 70 percent of students are on a free lunch program at the school.
Another student, Brittany Arms, who is the Key Club's president, said the club is active in helping out with other activities, too. She mentioned assistance to the Special Olympics. And she said the club has made blankets for the neo-natal cancer patients in Lee County.
Jeffrey said from what he saw on TV, it was devastating for him to watch with so many people having been killed in the earthquake. He is an excellent student at the school and a starter on the Varsity Basketball team at East Lee County.
Carla Elslager, of Lehigh, a volunteer with the American Red Cross, Lee County chapter, came to the school to accept the check on behalf of her agency.
St.Firman and Arms headed up the project for the Key Club, which is sponsored by the Lehigh Acres Kiwanis Club. St.Firman said his parents have friends and family members in Haiti. A cousin of one of his parents, who was a professor in Haiti, was killed in the quake, he said.
Ron Davis, East Lee County High School's principal, was on hand when the students handed over the check to the American Red Cross.
"These kids are great. I am very proud of what they do," he said.
Brittany Arms, the president of the Key Club, said the group was also auctioning off T-shirts to raise money for Haitian relief.
The two Key Club students said they spent time in the cafeterias during lunch time breaks asking for donations.
"I think some went without lunch and gave that money to us," Arms said.
Other schools in Lehigh also collected money and had projects for Haitian relief. And for those who want to donate, you can send contributions to the Lehigh Regional Medical Center. Make out your checks to the American Red Cross.