|Student leaders gathered to assemble goody bags along with personalized greeting cards for the students and staff of Ursuline Academy in New Orleans.|
Since Hurricane Katrina brought tragic devastation to the entire Gulf Coast area, not only have houses been destroyed, families displaced, and lives disrupted, but some students have been left without their schools. One such instance occurred in New Orleans with Ursuline Academy, a school with 350 middle and high school students and 275 elementary school students. Established in 1727, Ursuline Academy was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, leaving the teachers out of work and the students without a school to attend. However, over the past several months, the school has been rebuilt and restored in order to reopen its doors to students and faculty on January 2, 2006.
To assist in the reopening of the Ursuline Academy, Baltimore County Student Councils (BCSC) began a program called “Students Helping Students” and adopted the New Orleans school. This program's goal was to address the needs of the students at Ursuline Academy and show support from students here in Baltimore County.
Beginning in the fall at the annual BCSC Leadership Workshop at Camp Ramblewood, actions were taken to jumpstart the program. At the camp, Mardi Gras beads were sold to raise money and build awareness. The beads continued to be sold at subsequent student council meetings, ensuring that student council leaders remained conscious of the ongoing crisis in the Gulf Coast.
To supplement the fundraising at their meetings and events, student council leaders asked individual schools to initiate their own fundraising. As a result, BCSC member schools raised a total of $3,500. Student council members are very excited to present this donation to Ursuline Academy to assist in replacing items still needed at the school. The student councils that donated to this effort for Ursuline Academy represent Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Dulaney High, Loch Raven High, Parkville High, Perry Hall High, Perry Hall Middle, Ridgely Middle, Sparrows Point High, Sudbrook Magnet Middle, and Towson High.
To make a more direct difference in the Ursuline Academy community, the Baltimore County Student Councils felt that more should be done than just donating money. To fulfill this objective, BCSC student leaders put together small gifts for each of the students in the upper school. Each Ursuline upper school student will receive a backpack with the Ursuline school logo printed on it, filled with New Year’s party favors, supplies engraved with the BCSC logo, and a personalized greeting card. Each card was written by a BCSC member and is filled with sentiments expressing care and support. This personal touch will make the most difference and help the students know that they are not alone.
Both the money and the gifts will be sent to Ursuline Academy in time for its reopening on January 2, 2006, to encourage the students and faculty of Ursuline Academy to make a fresh start. The Baltimore County Student Councils plans to continue correspondence with the school throughout the year to monitor its progress.
Story by Jennifer O., President, Baltimore County Student Councils. Photos by Brice Freeman, Director of Communications