Disaster Relief

The principal of the Challenge School, Edie Alvarez, sent an email to the student body and their families on January 2nd.  There had been a fire at the school overnight.  Authorities were investigating.  Two sheds on the ground were destroyed.  It could have been worse.  The PTCO sent an email shortly after, elaborating on the loss.  All the sets, props and costumes from the theatre department were destroyed in the blaze.  The school play, “Oklahoma,” was just three weeks away and Dan Smith, who heads the program, needs help desperately.  After all, the show must go on. 

PTCO volunteer coordinator, Shannon Scott, started sending out email blasts to rally the troops.  She set up a command center in the study of her home and approached the task like law enforcement during a disaster.  On the hour there were updates about what was happening, what was needed, what was accomplished.  And something wonderful happened that really defines what a community is all about.  Over a hundred people showed up at the school on Saturday.  They brought their power tools, lumber, hammer and nails.  They rolled up their sleeves and built platforms, sets, even an outhouse, to replace the materials for the show plus those that had been collected over so many years.  Parents taught children how to drill.  Local merchants chipped in.  Everyone contributed energy and enthusiasm.  Even the local news media came.

Joe Rotondo helps build an outhouse after the Challenge School fire.
Joe Rotondo helps build an outhouse after the Challenge School fire.

Joe, Brayden and Phil worked on an outhouse.  Others raised the barn.  Still others created a wagon and Judd’s house.  Weekend carpenters obsessed about details and worried that their work didn’t look authentic enough.  Everyone had fun being part of the production.  At the end of the afternoon, the gym was clean and the stage was stacked.  In the week ahead people will begin to sew costumes and gather props.  There is still lots of work to do.  Shannon Scott keeps sending out her emails of gratitude and requests for wood, fabric, western wear and financial donations. 

At the end of the day Mr. Smith sent out an email to the Challenge School community. 

“Whether I told you individually today or tried to say it on the news- Thank you for being an amazing group of people.  Everyone worked with excitement and encouraged everyone’s efforts.  What an INCREDIBLE event to be a part of and watch.  In this small event of loss, we as a community created a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Standing ovation!!  Encore!!  Encore!!

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com

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