Days after an F3 tornado touched down in Dexter, faculty and staff at were hard at work devising plans to help families of students affected by the storm.
The school's efforts paid off, and following a five-day book fair fundraiser, faculty raised $1,512 for the Dexter Relief Fund.
The book fair was scheduled months prior to the storm, the proceeds of which usually benefit the Media Center at Bates. This year, however, event coordinators Julie Darling, Colleen Clark and Rebecca Reed decided to donate the proceeds to the relief fund.
"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Darling said.
What resulted was the largest grossing Scholastic book fair that Darling had ever seen at the school.
"We usually sell a little over $5,000 worth of products. This year, people spent $6,048, a new record for us," she said. "Everyone that visited the book fair was so generous. Students and families were donating books, extra money and change."
Clark said extra donations added up to an additional contribution of more than $100.
The community’s generosity did not stop at monetary contributions either, according to Darling. Hundreds of new and used books were donated, and specific books were purchased by Bates parents and students for students that lost all of their personal books in the tornado.
Teacher Heather Green had one student whose house was completely demolished.
"Our class wanted to do something to help. Helping our friend replace her library was the perfect job for us," she said.
Becky Cudini's kindergarten class worked together to pick out brand new books from Scholastic's online book ordering system, using classroom bonus points. Cudini’s class collected a large number of bonus points throughout the year and each of her students was able to sign a special book that will go to one of the many children affected by the storm.
"It was great to see how proud the students were to give something to others," Cudini said.
For information on how to donate to the Dexter Relief Fund, visit www.dexterrelieffund.com.