09/07/05 — Students use hat privileges to raise funds

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Students use hat privileges to raise funds

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 7, 2005 1:48 PM

Students and teachers at Eastern Wayne Middle School paid for the privilege of wearing hats to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina this week.

The dress code in public schools does not allow wearing of hats during school, nor can teachers wear jeans. So, it seemed like a small price to pay to break a few rules in order to help others.

Beth Jorgensen, school counselor, credits eighth-grader Lillian Sarvey with the idea. She said the student approached her last week, wanting to do something for those hardest hit by the hurricane.

"We agreed that we wanted to do something that would get quick results," Ms. Jorgensen said. "Lillian came up with the idea of a hat day.

"For $2, students and teachers could wear a hat all day at school, and on the same day teachers were given the opportunity to wear jeans for $5."

Students made posters promoting the event and displayed them all around the school. Money was collected for three days, with Tuesday being the day to defy the dress code.

"We saw jeans and hats all over the school," she said.

More impressive than the fashion statement, though, was the attitude that accompanied the effort.

"It has been amazing the number of students and faculty that have generously opened up their wallets to share and may not be wearing hats or jeans," Ms. Jorgensen said.

"It was quite touching. A lot of kids gave money, but some said, 'I don't want to wear a hat; I just want to give.'"

She said she witnessed some students stepping up and emptying pockets of pennies and whatever they could donate.

"Some gave without anything in return; they just gave," she said.

As a result, $1,200 was collected. It will be presented to the American Red Cross for relief efforts.

Ms. Jorgensen said other clubs and organizations at the school have also been talking about projects for the cause.

A cause that might be closer than the students realized.

"We've actually had a family come in to enroll, so it's hitting home," she said. Some victims of the hurricane, displaced like many others, will be relocating from New Orleans to Wayne County to be near family.