Houston, Texas is almost 700 miles away from Oxmoor Valley Elementary, but students at the southwest Birmingham school are making a connection by sending money to help storm victims and wearing T-shirts that show their love.
Melvin Love, Oxmoor Valley principal, said he wants students to understand how their lives can be enhanced by helping others.
“We have great support from our community and partners who give to us to ensure that our students have the resources they need,” said Love. “We want our students to know that they too can give back, in their own way.”
Teachers at the school came up with the idea of designing T-shirts and selling them to raise funds, Love said. A majority of the school’s 500 students purchased shirts along with teachers and community supporters, he said.
The blue shirts display a big map of Texas with the words “Oxmoor Valley Loves Texas.”
So far, about $500 has been raised, but that amount could increase, because a few shirts still are available, he said.
The funds will be donated to the comedian Kevin Hart’s challenge through the American Red Cross.
In addition to teaching students about the importance of giving back, teachers are also using this for academics, said Aulundria Grace, a curriculum coach at the school.
“For example, in math we’ll study percentages, once the totals are in. We’ll look at the percentages for sales in the school and individual classrooms,” Grace said. “We’ll also learn about profit.”
The project also fits in with the study of geography, Love said. Students are learning more about Texas, and they are learning about the impact of hurricanes on communities and people, he said.
School had been in session in Birmingham less than a month when Hurricane Harvey slammed Texas, bringing torrential rains and catastrophic floods. Like millions of people around the country, Grace said she watched television reports of the storm.
“I began to think about what we could do. I talked with Mr. Love, and we formed a committee,” she said.
The project is nearing an end, but Love and Grace said lessons generated will continue.
“We’re going to challenge the students to look around and find something they can do individually to give back and to help others,” Grace said.