By Ed Runyan
A recently retired Warren City Schools teacher and others are teaming up to help the teachers and students in Moore, Okla., return to fun and productive classrooms this fall.
Carole Nicholl, who retired last year after 30 years in Warren schools, will travel at the end of this month to Moore, the site of May 20 tornadoes that killed 23 people, to deliver the supplies.
The storms destroyed two of Moore’s schools, forcing officials to provide classroom space for this year in a refurbished junior high school and a local church.
“As a teacher, knowing what these teachers are going through, I can’t imagine it,” Nicholl said of the bare walls and makeshift accommodations the kids and teachers will face in their new facilities.
“The teachers and children have been through a lot. It could happen anywhere.”
Teachers take pride in their classrooms and frequently spend their own money to provide educational posters, stickers, cutouts and other items. The items encourage learning and participation in lessons, Nicholl said.
Without some help, the teachers may not be able to provide those things to the students this year, Nicholl said.
She and Chrisi Economos, co-owner of the Saratoga Restaurant, are carrying out a fundraiser and supply drive at several Trumbull County locations until about Aug. 25.
It is designed to provide three locations where the public can drop off school supplies and money to buy supplies for the students and teachers in Moore. The locations are the Saratoga Restaurant, 129 E. Market St.; Complete Kettleball & Fitness, 6285 Niles-Cortland Road in Niles; and Paige & Byrnes Insurance, 425 Niles-Cortland Road in Howland.
The Supply Room, 3221 Belmont Ave. in Liberty, which sells school supplies, will participate in the project by providing teachers with a $25 gift certificate to use in their own classrooms as an incentive for them to donate items to the project, Nicholl said.
The school supplies for the students are meant to help students and their families, many of whom lost homes and relatives in the storm, she said.
“I’m sure they’re in the process of rebuilding or replacing as well,” Nicholl said.
“To me, these teachers are heroes,” she said.
John Taylor of Paige & Byrnes Insurance, which contributed $500 to the project, said it is “a perfect example of Americans helping other Americans in need.”
He said Trumbull County received help from all over the country in 1985 when a devastating tornado hit Niles and Newton Falls, “so we need to do what we can to help people out.”
To make an impact locally, Nicholl and her team are donating 20 backpacks to local students as well, she said. A local church and the Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services are providing a list of names of children who need the items.