Friday, September 30, 2022

Burgaw school receives 1,000 Halloween costumes for kids across Pender County

Pender Early College High School has received costumes from as far away as Texas and Connecticut, "to bring the fun back" to an area hit hard by Florence flooding.

Kids arrive at Pender Early College High School in Burgaw Wednesday afternoon to receive Halloween costumes and candy bags. (Port City Daily photo / Courtesy Shannon Grable)
Kids arrive at Pender Early College High School in Burgaw Wednesday afternoon to receive Halloween costumes and candy bags. (Port City Daily photo / Courtesy Shannon Grable)

BURGAW — Pender Early College High School (PECHS) has received more than 1,000 Halloween costumes from people throughout the U.S. for kids whose families were affected by the area’s widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.

“When we got back to school our kids wanted to help,” PECHS Principal Kevin Taylor said. “Even though we had students who were displaced and families who had been affected, they wanted to help the greater community.”

PECHS students had returned to classes two weeks before other schools in the district, which resumed on October 22nd, five weeks after Florence made landfall on the North Carolina coast.

As a unique double-curriculum school located on the Burgaw campus of Cape Fear Community College — students earn both a high school diploma and an associates degree from CFCC at the same time — PECHS follows the college calendar rather than the district’s.

Taylor, along with the Student Government Association (SGA), spearheaded the project after realizing they wanted to do something more unique than a traditional fundraising drive, one that received canned food or clothing, for instance. So they decided to focus on the holidays — and first up was Halloween.

For school counselor Abby Robbins, the fundraiser was a way to help kids in the community enjoy themselves after all the stress that came with Florence.

“Just have some fun — that was the motivation behind it — bringing some joy out of the hardship that has been here for the last few months,” Robbins said.

According to Taylor, costumes have arrived from donors in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Connecticut, and Illinois. On Wednesday, PECHS began distributing costumes to all ten elementary schools across the county. They have also started reaching out to pre-kindergarten and middle schools in the area.

On Monday night (Oct. 29) the school will be hosting a Trail of Treats at the park in the back of its campus, where booths will be set up for kids to get candy.

Principal Taylor said that for the next holiday on the docket, Thanksgiving, he has discussed with district officials organizing a fundraising drive that will be pushed by the entire district, not just an individual school. One idea brought to the table was a Thanksgiving dinner drive, where food packets would be distributed to families in need.

“This was the brainchild of the principal and the kids have gone off with it,” Robbins said. “It brings the fun back into what has been — for many many people in this county and area — very devastating.”


Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@localvoicemedia.com

 

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