May 29, 2024

Hats on for an East Union family

East Union Schools gave a chance for the community to give their opinion on a proposed four-day school week.

AFTON – During April 26′s devastating weather, two tornadoes touched down in Union County, and Maria and Brad Dukes’ home was caught in nature’s crossfire. East Union Schools decided to help a local community member.

Debris from the tornado hit the Dukes’ house, located west of Afton, damaging the roof, breaking windows, wrecking their vehicles and destroying their garage.

East Union held a meeting after school on April 29. The meeting was organized by high school principal Bill Meiners to try to come up with ways to support the Dukes, who have two children attending the high school.

East Union was able to collect funds from the staff to bring to the Dukes as a supportive gift from the school. The elementary staff of the school raised over $700 for the family. Tara Luther, a third grade teacher, proposed an idea to involve the students of East Union in the fundraising efforts.

The “Hats On” fundraiser receives donations from students wanting to wear all sorts of hats, from cool caps to goofy crowns. A single dollar to a teacher meant students could wear a hat of their choice all day.

Hats are typically banned in school environments; East Union bans hats in their secondary school student handbook and can classify them as “disruptive” in the elementary handbook.

On the first day last Monday for the elementary side of the school alone, East Union collected $263 for the Dukes, with some kids paying for the whole week. The student body of East Union Elementary is comprised of 186 students.

By the end of the week, the elementary side of the school had raised $610 for the Dukes.

East Union Elementary Principal Joan Gordon, praised the idea. “The whole staff and students are involved with helping this family,” she said.

East Union helps foster a culture of community support, requiring community service hours from high school students to graduate and creating fundraisers and events for local community members and services.

ASPIRE, the school’s learning center and family service provider, has been a highlight for the community, recently creating a mural in the school auditorium painted by students.

Gordon praised the culture at East Union, especially the response from community members toward helping those in need.

“There’s a lot of love in this community,” she said. “If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s the way people care for each other.”

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.