Shenandoah County Public Schools’ students enrolled in the division’s Biomedical Academy have spent this week collecting drinking water for the residents of Lumberton, North Carolina. As a result of the flooding following Hurricane Matthew, the town has water but that water is not safe for drinking.
Melinda Walters, who teaches at the Biomedical Academy, learned the news through a text from a friend who lives in Lumberton. Students in the classroom noted Ms. Walters’ concern and asked what was wrong. Immediately they began brainstorming what they could do to help.
The students’ first idea was to fill a school bus with bottles of water but using a bus would require School Board approval, and the Board would not meet for several weeks. Knowing the need was urgent, students quickly determined they would use personal pick-up trucks instead. Ms. Walters has a pick-up, and other students thought they might convince family members, who also owned trucks, to participate.
“The students took charge,” said Ms. Walters. “They told me what to do!”
As a result of students’ work, CostCo of Harrisonburg, Martin’s of Winchester, Lowe’s of Front Royal, Wholesome Foods, and Food Lion of Mt. Jackson have all donated cases of water as have parents, students, and teachers. Admission to Central’s JV Football game on Thursday was only a dollar if the patron donated a case of water. There was a First Block competition at Central with the class collecting the most water receiving free breakfast.
Last minute donations can be dropped off tomorrow (Saturday, Oct 22) between 10 AM - 12 noon at CostCo in Winchester and at Food Lion in Mt. Jackson. The delivery group will be loading the trucks at 1:00 pm near the CHS gymnasium and will be open to additional last minute donations and manpower.
The group including students, family members, and Melinda Walters plans to leave Central High School at 2 PM tomorrow -- Saturday, October 22.
Officials from Lumberton will meet Shenandoah County Public Schools’ little caravan at the distribution center they have established just outside of the town. At last count, the delivery will include 137 cases and a few gallons and individual bottles of water.
Students in the Biomedical Academy would like to thank those who have donated thus far and encourage additional donations.