Students in the Linden High School Peer Pals class showing off the wristbands that they’re selling for donations of $1 or more. The money will go to Kingwood High School in Humble, Texas, which was flooded by Hurricane Harvey.

 

By Gary Miller

A student group at Linden High School has kickstarted a fundraiser to help a high school near Houston that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The Peer Pals class, which encourages its members to set an example for other students, is selling red, white and blue wristbands for donations of $1 or more. All proceeds will go to Kingwood High School in Humble, Texas, which was flooded by Harvey’s deluge.

“It’s completely destroyed by water,” said Nicole Campo, one of the teachers of the Peer Pals classes. “Their field, inside the school – everything. Water damage to their books, all their supplies, everything was ruined.”

Although this is the first year of the Peer Pals class, the group has had a relationship for years with a similar student group in Allen, Texas. The partnership started when students and teachers in Allen reached out to Linden after 9/11 to offer support to a school in the Northeast. The relationship has remained strong ever since.

“After Harvey, we all wanted to help,” Campo said, “so we reached out to Allen and their Peer Pals to see what they were doing. They told us their district had adopted Kingwood High School and if we wanted to join, feel free.”

The teachers found a video that showed the damage at Kingwood High.

“We showed the kids the video,” Campo said, “and the first thing out of their mouths was, ‘OK, so what are we going to do to help.’ ”

The video drove home to the students how bad the situation was for Humble. Kingwood High School was shut down and students had to attend school at nearby Summer Creek High School, with each student body attending for a half-day.

“They basically lost everything,” said senior Toni Frino, a member of Linden’s Peer Pals. “So coming from a high school that is so big where everybody is all together, we just want to give back to the people who lost everything.”

Campo said the students then came up with the concept of wristbands, went on a website to design them, and voted on the slogan. The bands say: “Linden Public Schools: Humble Enough to Help.”

“The slogan is short, but it gets the point across,” said junior Marizel Yequi, a member of Peer Pals. “We created this fundraiser out of something so simple. It’s a $1 wristband, but it’s going to a bigger cause. Something so small is a such a huge symbol for a great thing.”

The wristbands add to the popularity of the fundraising campaign.

“I think it was a great idea for us to have wristbands because everybody loves wristbands,” said senior Ariana Moore. “It just gave us the opportunity to give them what they are in need of. They need money because their school was underwater.”

Students are happy with the look of the wristbands, too.

“They’re kind of fashionable,” said senior Luvens Lormilus. “Everyone loves wristbands, and if you tell them it’s for Texas, they want to help out.”

Peer Pals plans to sell the wristbands at every school in the district through sometime in mid-October, including at Back to School Nights,  then collect the money and write a check to their partner school in Allen, Texas. Students in Allen are doing their own fundraisers and will combine the money they raise with Linden’s funds before passing it on to Humble.

“We’re ultimately coming together for the common good,” said Ryan Devaney, a social worker at Linden High School who works with Peer Pals.

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Students and staff can get the wristbands at any school in the district. Those not connected to a school can still donate and get a wristband by calling Linden High School at 908-486-5432.