October 1, 2011
Groton aids flood recovery
Elementary students hold fundraisers, learn about storm’s toll
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Travis Totman, right, yells at passing vehicles in an attempt to get them to visit Groton Elementary School Friday for a fundraising event to aid victims of the Broome County flood. In the background are McEnzie Smith, left, and Nate Turner.
GROTON — Fifth-graders stood Friday outside Groton Elementary School and cheered with excitement when they flagged down their second vehicle in as many minutes.
They directed drivers to the car wash in school’s parking lot, where other classmates with suds-soaked rags waited.
Another car washed meant more money raised to help Broome County elementary school students in Vestal who have been affected by recent flood damage.
“A lot of schools, they lost a lot of gear, a lot of other things,” said John D’Antonio, who teaches fifth grade in Groton. “All the funds we raise today are going to help Vestal Hills Elementary School.”
Every other grade in Groton’s elementary school had something to contribute.
Fifth-graders washed cars, first-graders sold used books, second-graders sold healthy snacks, fourth-graders had a bake sale, and third-graders sold bookmarks.
“I think this is a good idea to help out because we can make people’s lives better and help people from the flood,” said fifth-grade student Drake Howard.
There was also a bigger lesson for the kids to learn, D’Antonio said.
Elementary school students listened to presentations Friday morning from professors at SUNY Cortland and Cornell University about the effects of water and weather on the environment and property, particularly in flooding conditions.
“I saw people who returned home to find mold and then got asthma,” said Groton fifth-grader McEnzie Smith.
Her classmate Mitchell Felko said he was surprised when he saw news footage Friday of a house floating down the Susquehanna River in Binghamton that crashed into bridge during massive flooding there in 2006.
Broome County officials say the recent flooding from Tropical Storm Lee far surpassed 2006 conditions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing financial assistance to flood victims in Broome and several surrounding counties.
Vestal Central School District officials said Friday none of their school buildings were damaged by flooding, but people who attend their schools were affected by the flood.
D’Antonio said he is friends with a fourth-grade teacher at the school, and teachers there agreed any help would be welcome.
“It’s not just the physical toll, it’s the emotional toll,” D’Antonio said. “When they hear schools like ours doing something to help them, that’s a huge help to them ... and it’s a great feeling.”
The students and officials at the school say they hoped to raise as much money as possible.
Groton students held similar fundraisers when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, and they sent proceeds to help victims of the storm. Doing something to help the flood-ravaged Binghamton area seemed like a good idea too, D’Antonio said.
“All the teachers got on board to come up with ideas and got the kids really excited about it,” D’Antonio said.
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