Hatch tsunami fundraiser benefits victims, students

? A roundup of what Oak Park public school students are doing to aide victims.

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By DREW CARTER

Kids feel helpless, more so than adults might, when a huge tragedy strikes somewhere in the world, said Corrine Norton, first grade teacher at Hatch School, 1000 N. Ridgeland Ave.

So to empower her students and others at Hatch, she created "Hatch Has Heart," a tsunami relief effort that requires donations to come from money students have earned doing extra chores at home.

Norton wanted to do a service project, but didn't know whether the tsunami disaster would be too heavy for her students. But after winter break, they returned knowing about the "big wave," and some had questions.

Now students are helping out at home for money to donate. Some students are helping by reading to their younger siblings, further improving the scholastic aims of the project.

"It's not about the money at all," Norton said.

In addition to empowering students, the project has functioned as a math skills builder, she said. She told her students that a very basic meal could be bought with 10 cents, so their donations could buy 315 meals. Students have also been counting coins and adding sums from the coins and bills stuffed into a big jar in the classroom. "The kids have been excited about the numbers, too," she said.

Norton was moved when she heard that former presidents Clinton and Bush-41 said every donation?#34;even a dollar?#34;was welcomed in the relief effort, and thought all students and their families could participate in a program where the goal was for every student to raise $1.

Norton hopes the school can raise $230 by Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, one dollar from every student. Her class had raised $31.54 as of last Friday, and she had no idea how much other classes had raised.

Hatch fifth graders will select the most deserving charity for the proceeds.

Irving students make dollars soar
Shortly after holiday break, Irving School teacher Paul Packer was approached by fifth graders who wanted to do something for victims of the tsunami. At about the same time, third graders had written to Principal John Hodge wanting to do something, too.

The educators simplified ideas the students had about selling things for profit to just asking for donations. For each dollar raised, a student can get his or her name written on an eagle?#34;the school's mascot?#34;and placed in a long line of eagles in the hallway.

Today was the final day for the project, and Packer hoped the student-led effort would raise $500. They were at $428 as of last Thursday. Irving is at 1125 S. Cuyler Ave.

Quarters for Quakes at Brooks
The Service Club at Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School is collecting quarters for the earthquake and tsunami relief.

A student brought in the "Quarters for Quakes" slogan idea, but larger denominations have been accepted, too, including a $20 bill a student delivered as a parent donation last week, said Cindy Simone, seventh grade language arts teacher.

So far Brooks has collected $280 in bills, and an uncounted amount of change.

The Service Club is considering a couple of charities, but hasn't decided which to donate its proceeds to. They're hoping to raise $1,000. Brooks is at 325 S. Kenilworth Ave.

Other efforts include:

? Taffy Apple sales and Penny Wars at Percy Julian Middle School, 416 S. Ridgeland Ave., headed up by Mary Walsh-Farmar, who expects to raise $1,500 from Penny Wars for the Red Cross.

? Holmes School, 508 N. Kenilworth Ave., under the direction of first-grade teacher Anita Carr, will collect donated books and hold a used book sale, with a suggested $1 donation per book. The date of the sale is TBA. Carr hopes to raise a "couple hundred" dollars for the Salvation Army.

? Mann School Student Council, led by James Hayward, plans to meet Thursday to create a fundraising program to benefit tsunami victims. Mann is at 921 N. Kenilworth Ave.

Contact: dcarter@wjinc.com

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