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Bluffdale Elementary students raise money for Houston students displaced by Hurricane Harvey

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BLUFFDALE — On Friday morning, hundreds of students from Bluffdale Elementary School crowded into their school's gymnasium to make a video conference call. On the other end of the call were students in Houston.

After Moore Elementary was flooded by Hurricane Harvey, the Texas students lost classroom supplies, computers and more than 20,000 books from their school library. Upon hearing about the troubles faced by their fellow students in Texas, children at Bluffdale Elementary emptied their piggy banks, took on extra chores and sold baked goods to raise money.

During the Friday morning call, the students of Martianne White's fourth-grade class presented a check for $2,763.57 to Moore's students.

White said the idea for the fundraiser came from a pair of her 9-year-old fourth-graders: Alexa Mazuran and Adison Penkey.

"If that happened to me I would be devastated because I enjoy being here with all my friends and learning from my teacher," Alexa said.

Adison said she was "very sad" when she learned about the students who had to evacuate from their homes to avoid the flooding. She said she was upset at the thought of library books floating away in the floodwaters.

The girls went to work, first with their teacher, then with the rest of their class making posters. Eventually their efforts went schoolwide, and the two students took the lead, putting up handmade posters, collecting money from classes and making fundraising announcements every morning.

"I was really happy to see all of their faces, super excited, when we told them we raised the money," Adison said.

During the assembly, the students at Bluffdale had the chance to talk to Moore Elementary Principal Patricia Myers and a class of fifth-graders. The Bluffdale students asked a number of questions about the evacuation and how they were affected by the hurricane.

One Bluffdale student asked how the money they raised would be used to help Moore Elementary.

The fifth-grade students at Moore suggested things like new books and class supplies, as well as replacement gym equipment.

"It's going to replenish our library, for sure," Myers agreed.

Myers said students have what they need to continue with instruction, but that school officials are still discovering items that are broken or missing.

As the assembly ended, White asked Myers to find students from her school that could communicate with White's class as pen pals and keep Bluffdale's students updated.

After the assembly, White said she is proud of the compassion and the effort the students have shown.

"When I see my kids do great things like this, it makes me emotional," White said, holding back tears.

White said that while the check has already been cut, students were still bringing in money Friday morning, and that she expects the total funds raised will come close to $2,900.