Submitted by: Sonja Bailes
Bossier Schools Public Relations Liaison
When Hurricane Laura roared ashore in southwestern Louisiana, the destruction left in its wake was catastrophic. Not only was there physical damage, but emotional heartbreak as well.
The pictures and video that flashed across news and social media feeds moved us, and led schools throughout Bossier Parish to spring into action after seeing school communities to our south left picking up the pieces.
Benton Elementary, Intermediate, Middle and High schools, as well as Kingston and Legacy Elementary schools, came together to raise $10,000 for the South Beauregard community and collect a trailer load of supplies.
Benton High Assistant Principal Whitney Clark was able to purchase 74 Walmart gift cards in $100 denominations to be distributed to students, families and staff in need. Bossier High also collected cases of water, gloves, backpacks and toiletry packs.
Clark and Bossier High Principal David Thrash, along with their spouses and several students, then made the drive south over Labor Day weekend to make the heartfelt delivery, which also included a trailer load of supplies and a $3,000 check for South Beauregard Upper Elementary School to be used for classrooms once they are able to occupy the building.
“It was heartbreaking to see the damage caused by Hurricane Laura, but inspiring to see the spirit of the South Beau community,” Clark said.
Efforts were also underway in Haughton, where the Haughton High football team and head coach Jason Brotherton delivered three trailers full of water, buckets of cleaning supplies and loads of non-perishable food items for LaGrange High School in Lake Charles.
For Brotherton, it was personal. He played football with Marrico Wilson, a 1991 graduate of Haughton High, who is now the head football coach at LaGrange. Following the hurricane, Wilson retreated to Haughton, where he still has family, and enrolled his son as a Buccaneer until their school can reopen.
Wilson stopped by to visit and, in the course of that conversation, Brotherton realized what a great opportunity it would be to help a community in need and help a friend and former Buccaneer.
“The Haughton community stepped up as usual and went beyond what was expected,” Brotherton said. “The LaGrange coaches and administrators were truly overwhelmed by all of the items we delivered. The school is pretty bad. As of Monday (September 7), the school still had water in it, and they have been told that it will be another three to five weeks before they have power. It will be a long road to recovery for them. Hopefully our small gesture will help a little.”
Other schools are also organizing relief efforts. Cope Middle and Meadowview, Stockwell and W.T. Lewis elementaries are teaming up to hold a jeans day on their campuses September 25 to raise money in support of other school communities needing help. It is the power of WE, Bossier Schools’ way of giving back and paying it forward.
Photos Courtesy of: Bossier Schools