HEMET – The Hemet Unified School District serves the many wonderful and thoughtful students. Every time there is a tragedy or crisis, students step forward and create fundraisers to help those that have suffered, and their response to Hurricane Harvey was no different.
Last month, the district had students at Jacob Wiens Elementary School writing handmade cards for students in Houston, and now a student at West Valley High School has organized a project to help donate supplies to James Madison High School in Houston.
Andrew Weishaar is a senior at West Valley High School. He is a good student, plays football and is second in command for the school’s JROTC program. After watching the news, Weishaar came to school the next morning and approached Chief Warrant Officer and naval science teacher Alfonza Walton to ask what they could do to help people in Houston. By third period, Weishaar had come up with the idea of collecting donations for small children to help parents take care of their children. After discussing the idea with Principal Dr. Janice Jones, more people began to get involved and the idea gained momentum. Donna Parker, West Valley’s Advancement Via Individual Determination teacher, used her AVID connections to adopt a high school in Houston, James Madison High School, where they would be sending the donations.
Weishaar and the West Valley team spent nearly a month collecting various items for victims of Hurricane Harvey. After all was said and done, 2,500 pounds of donations were sent to James Madison High School. Donations included clothing, food, water, sanitation supplies, toiletries and other household products. Chief Ed Aguiar, JROTC instructor, took a U-Haul that was donated from his friend and drove from Hemet to El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Oct. 14, to meet James Madison’s JROTC instructor, Lt. Bryon Connors, who would drive back to Houston to deliver the donations to the school.
Weishaar thanked his fellow cadets, AVID students and others throughout the school who donated to this cause.
“We aren’t just a school; we are a family, a nation,” Weishaar said. “We are here for each other. We want to build everyone one up, give people equal opportunity, especially in a crisis situation.”
The West Valley JROTC program is preparing another project where they will be conducting a Flag Retirement Ceremony at Veterans of Foreign Wars’s Winchester Post, 2 p.m., Nov. 12. Aguiar said the ceremony is a way to pay homage to those that have given their life for the nation. They are asking the community to attend the ceremony and bring old American flags that are no longer fitting for display to be retired. Anyone with a flag that has been torn or ripped may bring it to West Valley High School before the Nov. 12, and JROTC will bring it with them to the ceremony.