Vermont Volunteers Help A Hancock County School - - The News for South Mississippi

Vermont Volunteers Help A Hancock County School

The combined Gulfview Charles B Murphy Elementary school wasn't built to be beautiful.  

"Well, the trailers were nasty, and it was pretty hard to learn and stuff," says 5th grader Sidney Klein.

Thrown together after hurricane Katrina destroyed their schools, Gulfview and Charles Murphy students were facing another year in temporary classrooms on this bare vacant lot behind Hancock County Middle School.  

"It was extremely difficult both physically and emotionally," says principal Jan White.

But volunteers from the tiny town of Barnard, Vermont are changing all that. 

"We raised the money about 10 thousand dollars," says Eric Tobiason of Barnard, Vermont. "We put together this building and the people to come down and do it.  

Teaming with parents, teachers and other relief workers, volunteers with the Barnard Helping Hands Katrina Relief Project are building an outdoor classroom, and landscaping the campus in just one weekend.  

"They saw how the trailers looked on the red clay," says principal White. "And they saw where the students had lived and where the schools were, and they decided then they were going to do something for us."  

"This will give them a place to be outside so they don't have to be crammed into a trailer," says Tobiason. "It'll be a pleasant place to be."

Parent Pam Lafontaine defines it another way.  

"New and a more positive atmosphere," says Lafontaine.

That's something parents, teachers and students alike say they're looking forward to from the 2006-2007 school year.  

"This was the motivator for us to move from survival into the astectic aspect," says White. "This is going to be a great year for us. That's our plan. And this is the beginning of it."

by Don Culpepper

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