Fla. students thankful for help after hurricane Hammond pupils sent them supplies NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

November 20, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

To students at Whispering Pines Elementary School in Miami, the 500 students from Hammond Elementary School in North Laurel are heroes.

In September, after learning that the Florida school was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew, Hammond students sent 720 packages of school supplies to Whispering Pines.

Thank-you letters from the students have been arriving steadily at Hammond for the past few weeks and have been given a place of honor on a bulletin board in the school lobby.

"Dear Sammy, I love you for giving us the things. If you have a hurricane I will help you, Love Jesse Evans."

The recipient of the letter, Sammy Vogeley, 6, said it "felt very exciting" to hear from a Whispering Pines student.

"They're always ecstatic when they hear from someone," said Assistant Principal Barbara White. "I've been reading some of the letters over the PA system and with the first few I got so emotional I just cried."

"They were so thankful and so appreciative about what we'd done," Ms. White said.

After the hurricane struck, Hammond contacted Dade county officials, who put them in touch with Whispering Pines. Students needed school supplies, so Ms. White asked Hammond students and their parents to buy extra rulers, binders, crayons and other supplies to send to Florida.

Hammond assembled 720 packages of supplies with personal letters from students and United Parcel Service delivered them free, Ms. White said.

First-grader J.R. Smith, 6, said he saw the damage inflicted by hurricane Andrew on television.

"We had to send school supplies or else they couldn't go to school," J.R. said.

Teachers at Whispering Pines wrote to Hammond teachers that entire sections of the school were leveled by the hurricane and the recovery effort would take years.

Ms. White said that Hammond plans to continue helping Whispering Pines over the next few years as the school rebuilds.

Currently, Hammond students are making a video of their school to send to their Florida friends.

Bob Muller, owner of All American Video Productions in Laurel, donated his skills, time and equipment to make the school video.

In addition to having fun, Mr. Muller said the kids are learning the basics of video production, from story boards to editing.

The video will include all grades in the school as well as music and gym classes. Mr. Muller, who has two daughters at Hammond, said he left it up to the kids to decide what they wanted to put in their video.

He began filming Oct. 1 and expects to send it to Whispering Pines in January.

"We're not telling them [Whispering Pines students] we're doing it, it'll just show up one day," Mr. Muller said. "Perhaps they'll even respond by video."

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