ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - As an East Central High student recovers from severe burns in a camp fire accident, students at a sister school in Jackson County are reaching out to support his family. Many of them came to school Monday with some cash and a lot of compassion.
A group of students walked into every classroom at St. Martin High seeking donations for Kyle Austin Ely.
"He's like family to us. He's our school family, so if any of you has anything you'd like to donate right now?" Kathryn Miller asked a class.
For the students, it didn't matter that Kyle attended East Central High School.
"It hit close to home. So that made it even more real, that it could happen to any of us," said the St. Martin High Sophomore. "I was just really shocked, and kind of sad."
Many students dug in their pockets for any spare change and gave generously.
"Because if it happened to me, I hope someone would help me out," said St. Martin High Junior Robert Reck.
The outpouring of support was the least they can do to help a family that's suffering. After all, St. Martin High has had its share of fatal accidents and other tragedies.
"We know what they're going through, so we try to help them as much as possible. So just by this little bit of money that we're sending, it goes a whole long way," said St. Martin High Senior Austin Cannette.
Every dollar bill and coin collected will help offset the cost of lodging, meals and gas, as the family travels back and forth from a hospital in Mobile to be by Kyle's side.
"If there's a family in need, that's part of our curriculum here at St. Martin High School is to complement what the parents do at home, is to try to teach compassion and empathy and this is what it's all about," said St. Martin High Principal Dina Holland.
"We got over $540 today," Austin said.
The students have shown when tragedy strikes any school, they can count on each other.
"I'm very pleased. It's so great to see St. Martin reaching out to people in our community, because it just shows how much of a big heart St. Martin High School has," said Kathryn.
"I didn't even know the student's name, but it didn't matter. We know we have a family in Jackson County that's in need and I knew our students would want to step up and help," said Holland.
The school will continue the love offering collection through Friday.