Tuesday, November 12, 2019
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From a poor Baltimore school to Harvey victims

It’s true that the media like a story about schools at their worst, but by and large, the vast majority of students in US schools, even those in urban areas, are trying to succeed.

(WBAL-TV screen shot via Twitter)

The eighth-grade humanities class of Wyatt Oroke at City Springs Elementary in Baltimore City raised about $1000 during a fundraiser, and they’re sending the money to the American Red Cross to help victims in Houston, WBAL-TV (NBC affiliate) reports.

According to the Maryland State Department of Education, about 82 percent of the students who attend the charter school qualify for free or reduced-price meals. So at the beginning of the school year, a few weeks after Hurricane Harvey left parts of Houston under water, students were more focused on their own needs.

“When school first started, I didn’t really care about what was happening in Houston. That sounds a little selfish, but I just didn’t care because I knew I was safe,” the station quoted one student as saying.

But as students learned more about the suffering in Texas, that selfishness turned to empathy and then a drive to help. The initial goal was $500, but by the end of the week, students had raised double that amount.

Empathy works both ways, students hope.

“I think, instead of just our school helping, other schools should help, because the moment something happens in Baltimore, we’re going to want help, too,” the student added.

“It was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. That’s why I’m a teacher, you know, to have student-led activities, student-led opportunities. And so seeing that was like everything that I wanted to see in a classroom,” Mr Oroke said.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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