Michigan school reaching out to tornado victims

6:29 PM, May 4, 2011   |    comments
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HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- The deadly storms that swept through the south last month are serving as a life lesson for students in one area school.

The children at Blue Star Elementary in Hamilton, an Allegan County community near Holland, are reaching out to help the people in a small Alabama town that's also named Hamilton.

Teacher Andy Losik says he came up with a way to reach out after reading a Tweet from a weather reporter in Alabama. "That kind of planted the seed," he says.

Losik teaches Infotech -- a class where every child works with personalized laptops, and class bloggers are assigned to cover school events. He says the distressed Tweet was an opportunity to help -- using an education in compassion.

"Hamilton, Michigan, has got Alabama's back and were going to help in any way we can," he says.

In all his classes, Losik has started "Hamilton Helping Hamilton," a project that's enlisting students to gather news, and to research and market a campaign to eventually send supplies to the places where they're needed most.

"It's really to build an understanding of how devastating this event was and how it's affecting real people and real kids," the teacher says. "We can tie the name of Hamilton, Michigan, and Hamilton, Alabama, together. The kids can relate to that."

The kids are busy designing posters, making blog posts and creating information for the public. They are collecting school supplies and basic neccesities from anyone willing to donate.

"I think it's really sad that they can't go to school and that they lost their homes," says fifth-grade student Madison Kolhen.

"This is real world learning. It's making those connections and the way that we can do it digitally is amazing," he says. "It's people helping people. It's Hamilton helping Hamilton."

By Steve Patterson

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