After fourth-grade student Elijah Marovitz voiced his concern for damaged schools in Houston during this year’s student council elections, Copper Creek Elementary School teacher Crystal Hinz’s class started collecting money for hurricane relief. For their fundraising efforts, the students recently received a thank you package from Houston.
“We put buckets in all the classrooms and in the office,” Hinz said, and school-wide donations reached $708. “We ended up sending a check of $688 because we used some money to buy a Ben’s Bell to include in the package.”
Kindness is one of Copper Creek’s foundational principals, Hinz said—and kindness is exactly from where the donations came. Marovitz started the program, and the whole school got behind the effort.
“All the teachers encourage spreading kindness and thinking beyond ourselves,” Hinz said. “My class made posters and hung them all over the school and two fifth grade classes wrote inspiration posters to send to the schools in Houston.”
The donation package was sent to Houston Independent School District, the largest district in Texas and the seventh largest school district in the country. It was one of the districts hit the hardest by Hurricane Harvey and still has schools that have not reopened due to damages. Some schools are holding classes in the morning for one group of students and then again later in the day for another group because of the amount of school closures.
“It really bothered kids in my class that kids in Houston wouldn’t have anything in their schools,” Hinz said, explaining that she was surprised by just how much students wanted to help. After collecting money, making posters and including a Ben’s Bell, the package went in the mail.
Copper Creek received a thank you package from the district, which included a nylon drawstring backpack for each student, donated by the Astros, and a T-shirt. Hinz and Marovitz also received baseball caps and certificates of recognition.
“He’s a very humble kid so he’s not sure how to react in the spotlight,” Hinz said, explaining Marovitz’s reaction. “He is really just a kind kid who did a kind thing.”
Marovitz’s friends and classmates have rallied behind him in this effort and are excited about their next project to help the local community. After recent vandalism ruined books in an Amphitheater School District library, the next endeavor is to collect books for Prince Elementary School and Amphitheater Middle School through Copper Creek’s upcoming book fair.
“The kids are very excited that now we can help kids close by, too,” Hinz said.
Tirion Morris is a University of Arizona journalism student and Tucson Local Media intern.