Kutztown Middle schoolers raise funds for hurricane victims, hope to adopt school in Puerto Rico

Kutztown Middle School student Blake Nolte, in back, with Carl Zeplin’s 7th grade jazz band homeroom class. They were the winning class in the spare change fundraiser for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
Kutztown Middle School student Blake Nolte, in back, with Carl Zeplin’s 7th grade jazz band homeroom class. They were the winning class in the spare change fundraiser for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. Submitted photo

A middle schooler’s desire to help hurricane victims may end up helping a school in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.

Kutztown Area Middle School 7th grader Blake Nolte, 12, approached Principal James Brown with a desire to help families impacted by hurricanes.

“I saw all of these issues that were happening,” said Nolte. “Hopefully this comes to be a great help and help out the people down there in Puerto Rico. I thought I never want that to happen to Kutztown or Pennsylvania what happened down there. I just felt bad for them so I thought let’s have a fundraiser.”

“I thought it was a great idea,” said Brown.

Advertisement

Brown not only gave him approval to conduct a fundraiser, he challenged the students to beat his own amount raised for the cause.

Homerooms raised the money by bringing in spare change. The homeroom class to raise the most won doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts and if they exceeded what Brown raised, they would win a second day of doughnuts.

Carl Zeplin’s jazz band homeroom class won, raising more than $400, and they exceeded the amount raised by Brown, winning a second doughnut day. A total of $1,800 was raised to donate to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

“I was honestly surprised. I didn’t think we’d raise that much money,” said Nolte with a big smile. “I figured we’d raise $500, but over $1,000, I was shocked.”

“I thought maybe we would take in maybe a couple hundred dollars. $1,800 later, it’s just amazing the outpouring of support for hurricane victims from our school,” said Brown.

Talking about Nolte taking the initiative to organize the fundraiser, Brown said, “I think it shows a great deal of maturity. He has a natural concern for the plight of others and he’s a fine young man.”

“I learned to be nice and not to be selfish. To help out other people, it’s just a great thing to do, and it feels good at the end of the day that you did that,” said Nolte.

Offering advice to his classmates, he said, “If you see an issue happening, don’t feel scared to ask your school or your community to help out.”

Brown agreed.

“You can’t be passive bystanders,” said Brown. “Good people should do good things.”

Brown said they are still in the process of connecting with a school in Puerto Rico to donate the funds. He has been in contact with a former Kutztown teacher who now lives in Puerto Rico and knows of a nearby school that was crushed by a tree and would be grateful for a donation. Communication is very difficult since the school does not have power or phones so Brown is still trying to make a connection.

“When Blake brought this idea to me, I thought we’d adopt a school and we’d keep in touch and build bonds between us and another school,” said Brown. “We’re hoping to give it to a school.”

Brown hopes to extend the educational experience by forming a relationship with the school in Puerto Rico, share ideas and cultures with one another.

Nolte likes the idea of partnering with a school in Puerto Rico.

“I think we could learn a lot from them and they could learn a lot from us,” he said. “Peace. Love. Kutztown. We’re just a great community and I’m glad to be a part of it.”

“I’m proud of my students just taking part in it and going all out. They must have cleaned out the spare change in every household. The jars are empty on the kitchen counters!” said Brown. “I’m just proud of my students for taking part and taking it so seriously. They raised so much money. It really shows that we care here in Kutztown. We care for the rest of the world. Peace. Love. Kutztown.”

About the Author

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa Mitchell is the editor of The Kutztown Patriot and Managing Editor of Berks-Mont Newspapers. Reach the author at lmitchell@berksmontnews.com or follow Lisa on Twitter: @kutztownpatriot.