Hats on for Baton

Published 2:02 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

Prince Edward County Middle School raised more than $300 for schools affected by recent flooding in Baton Rouge, La. The idea to give back to Baton Rouge was born in Charles Peterson’s sixth grade US History class.

While Peterson’s second period class was learning a geography lesson about the Mississippi River, the teacher told his students about recent flooding in Baton Rouge that took place in mid-August.

“I showed them some pictures, like of the coffins that were floating away and all the devastation,” Peterson said, “and one of my students … said ‘you know we ought to do something to help them.’ You don’t do that with me, I get stuff in my head.”

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From there he, along with the school administration, helped to make the idea a reality.

“It is very important for our students to work together to identify community needs. Our sixth grade team did a wonderful job in identifying a need and coming up with a plan on how to address the need,” Principal Tammy Hurt said. “Knowing that the flooding had damaged schools in Louisiana, the students were eager to do what they could to help them get back in their feet.”

The idea Peterson and his class came up is “Hats on for Baton.”

Faculty, staff and students could wear a hat all day on Friday Sept. 2, by paying a dollar, Peterson explained. Some participants didn’t want to wear a hat, but still donated, added Peterson.

Wearing a hat is considered a privilege, Peterson said, because typically the students are not permitted to wear hats.

“The students were excited to help others in need, but they were also very happy to be able to wear a hat in school,” he said. “Some were very creative in the hats they wore.”

The sixth grade teacher said after calling the Baton Rouge school system, he learned no one school was better off than another. The school will send the money it raised to the school system to funnel out to specific schools, as needed. Along with the check, the school will send a letter signed by Peterson and Hurt along with a painted banner all the students and staff have been invited to sign.

According to Hurt, the fundraiser saw about 300 participants.

“We raised $306 in one day which is great,” said Peterson.

The school held a similar fundraiser last year to raise money for Dent Middle School, when there was flooding in Columbia, S.C.

Accord to Peterson, there are no plans for another fundraiser, unless the need arises.

Peterson thanked the administration, Superintendent Dr. Barbara Johnson and his colleagues for their support of the program.

“Whether they participated or not, they were verbally supportive and that’s important,” he said. “Because when students see a united front … things are gonna get done and I’m looking for great things from this school year because of that.”