School Reaches Out to Haiti Earthquake Survivors
Students take it upon themselves to help by raising money
By: Ellen Armstrong, Raquel Ellis, Zenobia Howard, Dara Lewis, Alexis Lucas, Adrenee Williams, and Alexandra Szwarc (Creative Writing Class students)
Ellen Armstrong, New Hope Academy sophomore, read the newspaper headline "Earthquake In Haiti" on the morning of January 12, 2010 and said, "They've been through so much already. Can't they have a break?" She sighed remorsefully and put down the paper with exasperation.
After the catastrophic damage incurred following the January 12th earthquake in Haiti and its aftershock on January 20th, students and faculty from the private pre-K through twelfth grade school in Landover Hills, MD lent a helping hand. They raised $1,244.33 for the Unicef Haiti Relief Fund during late March through the month of April.
Joy Morrow, principal of New Hope Academy, said she was aghast when she heard news of the earthquake.
"Haiti is a nation that is already living in destitution and poverty. By being hit so hard and with such great magnitude, it's going to take years to solve," she said.
The eighth grade students organized a school wide "Funny T-shirt Dress Down Day," clothing drive, and several breakfast muffin sales. Melaine Rude, middle and high school history teacher, described to reporters the heaps of clothing that her eighth grade amassed.
Other notable contributions included the kindergarten class's sushi sales at lunchtime, the third grade class's solicitations for donations from their local churches, and the fourth grade class's collection of clothing and loose change from home.
Many New Hope Academy students also made donations from their own personal savings.
Hashim Muhammad, a New Hope Academy sophomore, commiserated with the plight of the Haitian earthquake victims and wanted to do everything he could to help them. "As an American I feel it is our responsibility to look after others who are less fortunate. We should not hoard our wealth while other countries suffer poverty and disease," Muhammad said.
New Hope Academy is an independent K-12 private school and pre-school in Prince George's County. It is international in composition, with over 35 countries and 20 faiths represented among faculty, staff, and students. It is a non-sectarian, non-denominational school, which emphasizes a strong academic program, with character development based on values universal to people of all religions. New Hope Academy opened in 1990, and the high school was established in 1998.