March 28, 2006 — Students at W.T. Sampson High school, DoDDS, recently sent a $2500 donation to hard-hit Pass Christian Public High School, in Pass Christian, Mississippi. The money is the first installment of a yearlong fund-raising effort by the 125 students at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The W.T. Sampson High School Booster's Club initiated The Pirates Helping Pirates fund-raising effort last fall when they heard about Hurricane Katrina's destruction. They began by contacting the Mississippi School Boards Association, which had developed a program to assign severely damaged schools to individuals, businesses or other schools interested in helping. According to the Mississippi School Boards Association representative, several schools along the Gulf lost their entire libraries as well as other facilities and materials.
Through the "Adopt-A-School" program, W.T. Sampson received Pass Christian High School. "It was just an extra bonus when we discovered that their mascot is the same as ours--the Pirate," said the school information specialist and Booster Club secretary.
"Our students became very conscious of how fragile life and possessions are. They wanted to help other students who had lost so much of what they had taken for granted for so long," said the English and drama teacher. The fund raising efforts just took off, when class meetings were help to show pictures of the damage and to take suggestions from the students, teachers and Booster Club members.
Thirty-five students along with three very brave teachers bowled in a Bowl-A-Thon in October. Pledges received from parents, community members and students garnered over $2100. Halloween offered other opportunities for the students to help. Led by the Drama Club sponsor, students operated a booth at the Elementary Fall Festival and earned $144.80. Instead of trick-or-treating, the high school students were challenged by their guidance counselor to collect for hurricane relief throughout base housing. Their collections gained them admission to the Halloween Costume Dance later that evening and they collected a total of $564.05.
Other fund-raising activities included a craft fair, a bake sale and a carwash. Additionally, the "Fairy Godmother Ball Gown Donation" project to send slightly used ball gowns to the Mississippi girls in time for their prom in March 2006, has collected over 30 prom dresses and a $100 donation.