Gators come together to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey

Volunteers from Captain Shreve and Byrd’s basketball teams assist with Hurricane Harvey cleanup efforts. – Photo by Toni Martinez

Students help fix a room affected by Hurricane Harvey. – Photo by Keith Greene

By Jada Wiggins – September 14, 2017

Students and faculty continue to volunteer and donate to help the families affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Student Council and Fellowship of Christian Athletes collected over $300 in a competition to see which homeroom could come together to raise the most money. All of the proceeds from the competition will be going to Manvel High School, which was affected by the hurricane.

English teacher Jason McInnis’s homeroom was the winner of the competition.

“I think they have a great heart and have a desire to help without being rewarded,” McInnis said. “I am very proud that they were excited to help.”

The Lady Gator volleyball team also contributed to the relief efforts.

“It was all Mrs. Tina from Holmes Honda,” volleyball coach Marita Hunt said. “She challenged all the local volleyball teams to help replenish the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank.”

Instead of selling tickets for the volleyball game that was held on Sept. 6, they asked everyone to bring a nonperishable food item or to make a small donation to enter the game. Hunt said she was proud that her girls were more than happy to accept the challenge and that they really took it to heart. Hunt said that they are always happy to serve where they are needed because they know that if it was them in need, they would want people to help.

The basketball teams, alongside Byrd’s girls basketball team, also helped by going to Houston to assist families in cleaning out their houses and recovering some of their belongings.

“There is always a group that gets forgotten and families that need help,” boys basketball coach Todd Martinez said.

This trip came about because they felt like there was a physical way that they needed to help.

“We can make a difference,” Byrd’s girls basketball coach Toni Martinez said in a statement. “Hurricane Harvey has caused widespread devastation for our Texas neighbors and Louisiana schools. In an effort to provide support and financial aid to schools affected by the flood, we have produced the Love Your Neighbor t-shirt.”

Coming from New Orleans, the Martinez family said they are willing to do whatever it takes to help. They are selling the shirts to raise money for schools that were affected. Their goal is $10,000 so that 10 schools can each get $1,000. The Martinezes hope the money will help replenish the schools’ athletics programs. So far they have sold about 900 shirts to various basketball teams and even organizations like Simple Church.

Similar volunteer efforts by students and staff at schools across Caddo Parish prompted Superintendent Lamar Goree to commend the school district’s response to Hurricane Harvey.

“I am grateful to work in a district comprised of so many giving and kindhearted individuals,” Goree said in an email to district employees. “Over the course of this week, we have seen the best in humanity with those who have stepped up to volunteer, donate supplies, collect items and find ways to give back to those who have so little. I am immensely proud of you and to lead this team.”