Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fort Thomas Schools Drive for School Supplies for Houston

HHS teacher Megan Boimann-Hennies, who is organizing the supplies drive.

The tragic effects of Hurricane Harvey are being keenly felt in Houston and the surrounding area. Many aid agencies such as the Red Cross are looking for donations to aid the clean up effort but you can also help closer to home as Fort Thomas Independent School District is running a school supplies drive from now until Friday September 15th to benefit students and teachers in Houston Independent School District.

There are over 200,000 students throughout the 287 schools in the Houston Independent School District. As a result of Hurricane Harvey, several of the schools have experienced flooding, others are being used as shelters, and many of the students, staff, and families have left their homes or faced personal loss. Fort Thomas Independent Schools will be collecting school supplies and backpacks to help the HISD community have a safe and positive school year. 

The idea behind the supplies drive came from Highlands High School teacher Megan Boimann-Hennies. “My husband and I were having a conversation about how we could individually help, I saw that Houston Independent School District was damaged both through flooding and through being used as shelters. It really resonated with us having just started back at school.”

As a teacher, the problems faced by Houston Independent School District inspired Megan to do something to help:

“Thinking about how important it is for students and teachers to have everything they needed to feel prepared and ready to learn every single day of the school year, being a teacher and surrounded by students I could empathize and thought it would be a good way for our students to not just provide back to others who need it but also make a connection with fellow students.”

One of the recently appointed Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools, Dr. Karen Cheser’s main goals is to create global leaders and to embed the idea of servant leadership, Megan believes the drive really complements that aim: “A huge component of it is being able to feel empathy towards others. To recognize that everyone has different circumstances and different experiences and as a leader your job isn’t only to sympathize but to figure out ways that you can help people. Even if you live in Fort Thomas and they live in Houston, or India, or Europe, or Africa, there’s always something that we can contribute.

Highlands seniors, Caleb Chambers and Kylie Stava set up in the Highlands entryway to collect backpacks. FTM file. 
The events of Hurricane Harvey have been a useful conversation starter in Megan’s classroom: “Especially in my Government classes we’ve been looking at and will continue to look at the government response, looking at the political strategy aspect of it but also the role that government has as a humanitarian aid provider.” 


Megan believes that learning about what has happened in Houston and striving to help those in need also benefits kids in Fort Thomas: “Our students are already so successful and bright, the more they can look beyond what they already know, it enriches their lives and empowers them to be the decision makers of the future”


Highlands Athletics Department is also supporting the drive and will be collecting donations at Friday’s game against Ryle. Matt Haskamp, athletic director explains, “Megan came to us to ask if we had any events which we could solicit donations at and we’re so happy to partner with her. We also reached out to Ryle High School so they could share the information too. Anyone coming to the game on Friday can bring school supplies and there will be donation bins at the gates.”

The drive is not limited to Highlands High, all schools in FTISD will be collecting supplies, Dr. Karen Cheser explains, “It’s great that it’s system-wide, it means we can make sure that we’re collecting things that are usable and that we can get actually get to the Houston area.”

Fort Thomas Schools will collect these supplies from Tuesday, September 5, through Friday, September 15.  As well as school supplies, backpacks, both new and gently used would also be greatly appreciated. Donations can be dropped off at school or at FTSD Central Office.   Megan can be contacted with any questions at megan.boimann-hennies@fortthomas.kyschools.us

The HISD Foundation is also accepting financial donations to help families within the district; 100% of the proceeds will serve members of the community. 
Financial donations can be made through the following link: http://www.houstonisd.org/Page/164281

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