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From Haiti to home, students show a spirit of giving  camera icon

Haiti school
The building of a new school in a remote village in Haiti progresses thanks to the generosity of the Schuylerville school community.

september 4, 2012

Whether it’s Haitian children in need or children closer to home, Schuylerville students and staff show a true spirit of compassion and giving.


Last year, students marked the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti by initiating a series of fundraising activities to collect enough money to build a three-room school in the remote village of Grande Saline. The activities included sale of “Hand in Hand for Haiti” t-shirts and bracelets, candy sales and a “Paint the School Red and Blue for Haiti Day.” The idea to build a school originated with Laura Delair, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, who has committed herself to volunteer work in Haiti. The fundraising efforts quickly reached the $5,000 mark—enough to build a school!

Delair made her fourth trip to Haiti in August to track the progress of the school and to deliver clothing donations and medical supplies. “Even during the summer, the school community came together to collect donations. I ended up taking five huge suitcases,” Delair commented. She also brought along a few laptops to begin equipping the new school.

“I’m excited to report that the construction of the school is progressing very well. Everything was dug by hand to a depth of five feet to make sure the structure is earthquake-proof and flood-proof,” Delair said, adding. “The children are so thankful for the generosity demonstrated by the Schuylerville community and they’re looking forward to their new classrooms. They chant ‘Schuylerville! Schuylerville!’ when we go there. It’s so heartening to experience that. Our school community should be so proud of what it has accomplished.”

The school is expected to open within the next few weeks and will accommodate at least 100 children. The structure will also serve as a safe haven for all village families during storms.

During the upcoming school year, Schuylerville staff and students will continue their efforts to help their Haitian peers by conducting additional fundraiser to help purchase solar panels, as well as school supplies.  [View photo gallery]

Help a little closer to home   

Art Club students present Mr. Hayes with 1,000 cranes 
Above: Art Club students present Mr. Hayes with 1,000 origami cranes that were stitched together. The creation was presented as a goodwill gesture to Mr. Hayes' son, Parker, who is fighting a rare form of cancer. Below: A thank-you from Parker Hayes as he shows off his donation check and origami cranes.
Parker Haye 

Schuylerville students also have heart for those a little closer to home! While they were helping in Haiti, they also committed themselves to supporting Ron Hayes, a Schuylerville High School math teacher whose 10-year-old son, Parker, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Upon hearing the news, members of Student Council immediately set out to organize a fundraising dance to help Hayes and his family through their difficult time. The dance was a huge success and students raised $600 with the single event.

Later, Art Club members showed their support for Parker as he underwent several rounds of chemotherapy by folding and stitching together 1,000 origami paper cranes, producing a constant visual reminder of the rainbow of caring and compassion of the Schuylerville community. An ancient Japanese legend promises recovery from illness or injury when the paper cranes are bestowed.

“I want to truly thank the Schuylerville students and staff for all their time and hard work on behalf of my family,” Hayes said. “In addition to the fundraising and cranes, they really showed me their maturity during the challenges my family faced. Students who I would never think would ask, inquired about how Parker was doing. I’m so thankful for the support.”

Students from the Art Club are featured in this year’s district calendar (on the February 2012 page) in a photo that shows them surprising Hayes with the paper cranes.

Stay tuned for what promises to be another year of caring from the Schuylerville school community!