HMS raises thousands for Texas high school damaged by Hurricane Harvey

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Much like many schools in the area of Houston, Texas, Kingwood High School suffered extensive damage from catastrophic flooding in late August 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, but thanks to one middle school in Shelby County, KHS received some relief to help with the clean-up efforts.

The city of Houston and the surrounding communities were rocked by one of the worst Hurricanes in recent history as Hurricane Harvey caused billions of dollars in damage.

Upon seeing and hearing the news, Helena Middle School Librarian Patti Dodson decided to take action after finding out about the damage from a former neighbor.

“My next-door neighbor and their family had recently moved from Helena to Kingwood and I had kept in close contact with them after the move,” Dodson said. “We learned about all the flooding and although their house wasn’t damaged, I was told Kingwood High School was damaged significantly, especially the bottom floor. I just felt like we needed to do something to help.”

In addition to the physical damage to the building, a large portion of damage to Kingwood High School occurred to text books and many classroom materials essential for learning.

After hearing of the damage, Dodson decided to challenge students at Helena Middle School to reach out and help Kingwood High School, and they delivered.

In a week-long fundraiser, HMS students and parents helped raise $1,268.73 in total funds through a fundraiser called “Change Wars.” In the past, students brought in as much change as possible and the money raised helped fund materials needed at Helena Middle School. Instead, all the money collected went straight to Kingwood High School.

“In a typical year, we normally raise around $600 through Change Wars but this year was amazing the amount of money that was brought in,” Dodson said. “In addition to change, we had several students bring in $20 bills to do everything they could to help Kingwood.”

This was only half the total, however, as Scholastic decided to match the funds raised by Helena Middle School to bring the total amount to $2,537.47 that was sent to Kingwood High School.

Because of the nice gesture, it did not go unnoticed by Kingwood as Dodson and HMS Media Specialist Beth Willoughby received a special package on Monday, March 12.

A special thank you package was sent to Helena Middle School from Kingwood High School Librarian Susan Schilling that included Mustang T-shirts, thank you posters and pictures from KHS students.

Kingwood High School officially reopened on Monday, March 19, after being closed for more than six months to remodel the school following the hurricane. The school will work with Scholastic to replace the textbooks and classroom materials.