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Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School students raise money for hurricane relief

Presenting money to the American Red Cross for hurricane disaster relief are, from left, Kevin Simonton, principal at Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School; fourth-grade student Connor Zecca; Sharon Kesselring of the American Red Cross; Jean Brothers of the American Red Cross; fourth-grade student Kayleigh Varner; Dr. Amy Smith of Smith Orthodontics and Greg Zecca, president of Parkersburg Catholic Schools. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — students “dressed their best to help the rest.”

On Sept. 20, students at Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School dressed up to raise money for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The event was the collaborative idea of school Principal Kevin Simonton and a group of students, all looking for a way to help.

“We wanted to be able to help people get back everything they’ve lost,” sixth-grader Adelyn File said.

“Dress Your Best to Help the Rest” was an event that students could participate in by bringing a donation of at least $2 to “dress in Sunday best” instead of wearing the school uniform. Many students were more excited for the opportunity to dress up rather than the more frequent “no uniform days,” school officials said.

Students, faculty and the Rev. John Gallagher are shown at Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School. Gallagher had just performed the weekly Mass at the school. (Photo Provided)

“It was fun to wear a nice dress and my kitty cat shoes to school,” second-grader Ainsley Hardesty said.

The event raised $750 in student donations.

Simonton said he is proud of the kids, and the money they raised.

“This fundraiser was a prime example of our overriding premise at PCES, which is ‘Think of Others First.’ By the students and parents first asking if we could help, and then by stepping up and helping in such a big way they truly thought of others first,” Simonton said.

In addition to the funds raised by the school, Dr. Amy Smith, of Smith Orthodontics, has pledged to match the event’s total dollar for dollar, bringing the money raised to $1,500.

“We at Smith Orthodontics wanted to do something significant to help hurricane victims so when the opportunity arose to partner with PCES to raise funds, we jumped on it,” Smith said. “We chose to double the money raised by the students so that even more people could be helped. I was so impressed with how much money the students raised themselves. We are blessed to be able to be involved with such a wonderful and caring school system and to work together to help those in need.”

A check was presented to Sharon Kesselring of the American Red Cross Friday morning.

Greg Zecca, president of Parkersburg Catholic Schools, was impressed with the initiative shown by students. “Service is the core tenant of a Catholic education. I am delighted that our students have internalized this message, and responded in such a generous way for those in need,” Zecca said.

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