Centreville Elementary Helps School in Louisiana

Centreville Elementary Helps School in Louisiana

Band Aid event raises money for elementary near New Orleans.

Bands, moonbounces, a bake sale and samples of restaurant treats brought smiles to a lot of faces Saturday at Centreville Elementary. But they also had a serious purpose: They raised $3,667 to help an elementary school northwest of New Orleans.

They were part of Band Aid for Hurricane Katrina Relief, and the money will help purchase badly needed supplies for Forest Hill Elementary, which was adopted by Centreville Elementary after the hurricane.

So far, Centreville has sent 30 boxes of school supplies and 250 backpacks filled with more school supplies. It's also developed partnerships with teachers at Forest Hill so their students could become pen pals.

"As the months have passed, the outpouring of support and relief [from the general public] has diminished, but the need has not," explained Lee Kaiser, Centreville guidance counselor for grades four through six. "[So] the children and staff of Centreville elementary are compelled to provide continued assistance to our new friends in Louisiana."

Last September, said Kaiser, "Our entire staff wanted to adopt the school and teach our kids that it's important to help a school in need. And my philosophy of my job is to instill positive character traits in children."

So he and second-grade teacher Steve Thorne decided to hold Band Aid to raise money. And, said Kaiser, "Our entire staff of amazing people supported it. I'm just so impressed with the staff."

And Saturday's event was a big success. Some 500 people attended between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., including Sully District School Board representative Kathy Smith and Centreville Community Foundation Chairman Marvin Powell.

CHILDREN enjoyed two moonbounces, facepainting and playing on the playground equipment. Shady Oaks Amusements and Leaps & Bounds donated the moonbounces free of charge. And throughout the day, doorprizes were awarded.

Families had picnics on the lawn, baked goods, popcorn, water and lollipops were sold, and Bonefish Grill, Border Cafe, Red Rock and Little Italy set up booths and sold samples of their food for $1 each. And all proceeds went to Forest Hill. Starbucks also helped out by providing free coffee.

Attendees also enjoyed the rockin' music of three, live bands — Something Different, Radiomime and Flock of Eagles — all of whom performed for free. Flock of Eagles — taking its name from the 1970s group, Flock of Seagulls, and composed of school staff — featured fifth-grade teacher Megan Whitson on vocals and Centreville Principal Jim Latt on the keyboard.

"There's been such an outpouring of people volunteering their time and equipment," said Kaiser. "Kinko's donated a 5-foot check [to record the amount donated to Forest Hill], and Fire Station 38's rescue team came. The whole school deserves credit for putting this together, and we appreciate Mr. Latt allowing us the freedom to have this vision and entrusting us to bring it to fruition."

As for Latt, he said, "We're really excited about this. It's pulled the community together in a whole, other way. I am unbelievably grateful to the staff for contributing all their talent, creativity and time to this event — and their enthusiasm and support to this mission. This could not have been a better success. Everything was exemplary, and we're extremely proud that we were able to pull this off."