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Good deed yields new friendships

| Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

“Ms. Tucci's students at Hutchinson Elementary modeled a lesson that we in Oceanside work very hard to teach our students which is that every individual can make a difference in the lives of others. They showed our children that we are not alone in tough times and we are so grateful,” said Laurie Welch Storch, Principal of School #8 in Oceanside, NY.

Some students at Amos K. Hutchinson Elementary School helped those in need and maybe made a few lasting friendships.

The students in Jennifer Tucci's third-grade class and other students at the Greensburg Salem elementary school sent “six large boxes of supplies” to a New York school devastated in October by Superstorm Sandy.

Last week, the local students mailed pen-pal letters to students at Fulton Avenue Elementary School in Oceanside, N.Y. They are awaiting responses.

“This was a great opportunity for us to provide supplies ... and build a relationship with people we didn't even know,” said Tucci, who helped to organize the effort and shipped the boxes.

Flood waters from Sandy swept across the first floor of the Long Island school. The water pummeled whatever was in its path, including items in the gymnasium and cafeteria.

“There was an influx every day at my door with bags and bags and bags” of donated supplies, Tucci said.

Students collected such items as pencils, glue sticks, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, eraser caps and rulers in late November.

“I think we did an excellent job,” Tucci said. “I was very pleased with the turnout and participation. The response from the community, as well as people in our building, was great.

“We collected enough to make a difference, I think,” she said.

Tucci learned about the New York school's plight through a friend.

Hutchinson Principal Kevin Bringe said he is proud of the students and glad they could help others in need.

Besides the boxes, the local students sent $600 in gift cards, mostly donated by district teachers and administrators.

Fulton school officials planned to use the gift cards to buy games, Tucci said. The storm ruined game boards that were in classrooms for use during recess.

In the pen-pal letters, the Hutchinson students introduced themselves, then discussed their hobbies and interests, as well as their likes and dislikes.

Her plans are for her students to continue writing their pen pals for at least the remainder of this school year, Tucci said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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