This could be us

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

On Monday, Nov. 5, Wrightsville Beach School students headed out of school to go door-to-door and collect money for Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School in Seaside Heights, N.J.

Russell Ebelherr, spelling bee chairman and father of two children who attend the school, said the adoption of the Seaside Heights school is a way to give back, go forward and also teach students a lesson at the same time.

Christine Born’s fourth-grade class will count the contributions each morning.

Each grade level is creating a different competition strategy to raise money. Fifth-grade boys are teaming up against fifth-grade girls to see who can bring in the most funds.

Hugh J. Boyd Elementary, which is still without power, was chosen because it is an elementary school in a coastal community similar to WBS.

“Their school is really close to the ocean like ours,” Ebelherr said. “These kids are without homes now, without school supplies. They’re without a lot of different things.”

Geographically it worked, he said.

Children in New Jersey were trick-or-treating on Monday night so WBS students went door-to-door the same night asking for donations on their own trick-or-treating routes. 

Ebelherr and other volunteers are now canvassing retail shops and offices in the WBS district to supplement the door-to-door donations.

“We’re looking for monetary donations,” Ebelherr said, adding that his personal goal for the district is to raise $35,000.

After a special parent teacher association meeting Monday morning, Ebelherr said more than $2,000 had already been raised without the campaign going public and about nine women were willing to donate their time to the cause.

On Wednesday, Nov. 14, a group of parents will meet at the school at about 8:15 a.m. before heading 563 miles to Seaside Heights to present the donation on Thursday, Nov. 15.

“I think it’s a great idea,” WBS principal Mary Paul Beall said. “These kids need to get back in school as quickly as they can. … I think the school, from what I’ve looked at, is very similar to this school and this could be us.”

She said the school is blessed to be able to help other people in need.

In 1996, WBS received aid after undergoing three feet of flooding from Hurricane Fran.

St. Mark Catholic Church allowed the school to operate in its Sunday school classrooms. 

Cash, coins and checks made out to WBS PTA will be collected until Tuesday, Nov. 13. 

Anyone who would like to donate can contact Ebelherr at or 910-612-5335.

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