Calera Middle School students aid Haiti quake relief effort

Published 5:12 pm Monday, March 15, 2010

First Priority is a student-initiated, student- led Christian club for middle and high school students.

Fittingly named, students prioritize their lives to live according to the commandments of Jesus Christ.

They hold one another accountable in living out their faith and further the gospel message by reaching out to others.

Margaret Powell is the First Priority sponsor at Calera Middle School.

Members voluntarily meet with her on Tuesday mornings at 7:20 to share concerns and discuss issues facing our nation. Posters in her classroom encourage patriotism, school pride and faith.

“After hearing of the earthquake in Haiti, the students decided to raise funds to help those affected,” Powell said. “Mr. Copes, our principal, announced it and contributions started coming in.”

Will Knowles does not make it to the meetings, but recognizes the importance of priorities. He was saving money to purchase a laptop, but decided the people in Haiti needed the money more than he would use a laptop.

“Will just handed me an envelope and said this is for the Haiti Relief Drive,” Powell said. “I counted it later and realized it was $260.” She contacted his father, James Knowles, a ninth- grade history teacher at Calera High School. Will had discussed it with his parents and it is what he wanted to do.

“I heard about the earthquake on the news and my mom and dad talking about it,” Will said. “I felt sorry for the people and wanted to do something to help them.”

Will’s friends cannot believe he gave all of his savings. “My friends have told me good job.”

I asked Will if he tells his friends they should give.

“No need to tell others what to do. Let them choose,” he replied.

“Students at Calera Middle are taught to lead by example and we are very proud of Will,” Powell said.

Will’s favorite subject is science, but quickly added, “You’re second, Ms. Powell.”

He plans to get scholarships to pay his way through college so his parents will not have to foot the bill.

Will aspires to be a philanthropist. “I hope to make a lot of money one day to give to causes that help people.”

First Priority did not set a goal for the drive, but Powell is confident the school will meet or exceed $500.

Mollie Brown is the new community columnist for Calera. She can be reached at