By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer
(Sept. 26, 2019) Worcester Preparatory School donated more than $4,000 to the American Red Cross to help victims of Hurricane Dorian in the Caribbean.
“The thing[s] that people need immediately is clean water, food, shelter, and medical care,” said Mary Beth Herbert, president of the school’s parents’ association. “Those immediate things have been completely wiped out.”
The Category 5 storm battered the islands with wind speeds of up to 185 mph and hovered over portions of the Bahamas for about two days earlier this month.
Students dressed down for a good cause on Sept. 12 during a “Bucks for the Bahamas” fundraising event. Herbert added that each student was encouraged to bring $1 so they could don casual clothing for the day.
Herbert said roughly 500 students raised more than $3,800 during the event, and the parents association contributed money to round the total up to $4,000.
“We were just thrilled with the magnitude of the generosity, and honestly I’m not surprised because this is what happens,” she said. “All you need to do is ask, and people open their hearts, and open their wallets. It was really wonderful to see.”
Worcester Prep’s soccer team also chipped in. Coach Carol Harnett, who is also a health and physical educa- tion teacher, said her team raised about $578 during a “Boots for the Bahamas” fundraiser, which also took place on Sept. 12.
The 24 athletes canvassed the school, asking faculty, parents and fellow students to give what they could.
Hartnett said Worcester Prep alumna Sarah Ann Showell, who graduated in 2009, is also working to help storm victims.
“They absolutely need boots because nobody can get around unless they are wearing boots, because of all the debris and the water, and everything that’s in it,” Hartnett said.
The Showell family’s Green Turtle Club Resort on Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas was destroyed in the storm, but their more immediate concern was helping the island’s residents, which they did by starting an online crowdfunding campaign for that purpose. For more information, visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/green-turtle-cay-hur- ricane-dorian-relief-fund.
Hartnett expressed her gratitude to Herbert and other members of the parents’ association for getting the ball rolling.
“They, through their efforts, have shown our kids that it’s important to them, and so it became important to our community, and family, and our school, so kudos to our parents association for spearheading this,” Hartnett said.
Hartnett and Herbert acknowledged that while the fundraising events help those in need, it could also be a teachable moment for students locally.
Herbert said she hopes to continue involving Worcester Prep in other initiatives to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian.
“It’s a great way to sort of inspire giving, and compassion, and getting kids to think outside of their little town,” Herbert said.
Junior Baylie Holmes agreed.
“We were asked to donate $1, but it’s amazing what we accomplished working together in one day that made an even larger impact for those in need,” Holmes said.