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Sep 27, 2017 9:41 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Hampton Bays Second-Graders Donate Crayons To Texas Students

Anais Perez, left, and Citlali Ochoa Bonilla area second grader at Hampton Bays Elementary, are helping donate crayons to a school in Texas that was devestated by Hurricane Harvey. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Sep 27, 2017 10:16 AM

Second-graders at Hampton Bays Elementary School are coloring outside of the lines when it comes to helping their peers in need in Texas.

The students in Kristin Webber’s class have collected, as of earlier this week, 200 boxes of crayons that they will donate to a fourth grade class in the Pasadena Independent School District in Texas, which sustained heavy water and structural damage when Hurricane Harvey made landfall there late last month. The fundraiser started in Ms. Webber’s class, but faculty and parents throughout the school also pitched in and donated crayons.

Ms. Webber said that at the beginning of the school year her kids were talking about the hurricane because their parents were watching it on the news at home. She decided to take the opportunity to teach her students about hurricanes, as well as a life lesson about helping those in need.

Ms. Webber connected with Elizabeth Kotey, a fourth grade teacher in the Pasadena Independent School District, located south and east of Houston, through a blog called sunsandsecondgrade.blogspot.com and asked her how she could help. Ms. Webber said Ms. Kotey told her that her class needed school supplies—especially crayons—so the children could express their feelings about the hurricane damage though art.

Ms. Webber’s students have already sent 50 boxes of crayons to their peers in Texas, and plan to ship another batch in the coming days.

Several of her students said they happy to help others, noting that it has been a rewarding experience.

“It makes me feel good because I wanted to help them,” second-grader Autumn Malave said of the students in Texas.

On a recent Wednesday, Ms. Webber asked her students to describe in one word how donating crayons made them feel.

Catalina Buitrago answered without hesitation: “Grateful!” she said.

Others in the class agreed: Camilia Powers said it made her feel “helpful,” Allizon Sagastume said she felt “nice,” and Hannah Russell felt “delighted.”

Ms. Kotey received so many boxes of crayons from Hampton Bays that she was able to share them with other classes in her school, Ms. Webber explained.

“She was so grateful,” she said of Ms. Kotey. “She said her boys and girls had the biggest smiles on their faces. It was awesome.”

Ms. Webber explained that in the beginning of the school year she read her students books about hurricanes and used colorful maps to show them where Texas is located. Now all 22 of her students can easily spot Texas on a map and can also describe what hurricanes are—and also know the damage they can bring with them.

Ms. Webber’s second-graders are not the only students in the area working to help people in Texas that had their lives uprooted by the hurricane. Westhampton Beach Elementary School fourth-grader Max Atkinson recently raised $200 by selling lemonade that he donated to the “Houston Flood Relief Fund” on YouCaring.com. The page was started by Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, and so far has raised $37.1 million.

Max is encouraging others in Westhampton Beach to contribute to the fundraiser.

“The fund raised over 30 million,” Max said. “Let’s see if Westhampton Beach can do better than that.”

Ms. Webber noted that it feels good to see how much her students, and the community in general, are doing to help out Texas.

“Seeing an immediate response in the form of donations and encouraging praise from students, teachers and parents alike was overwhelming,” Ms. Webber said. “I feel unbelievably proud to call myself a member of the Hampton Bays School community.”

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