My advisory has "adopted" an elderly couple—Margot and Anthony—in the Rockaways Beach area of Queens, NY. This neighborhood is home to many policemen and firemen, middle income residents and retirees, and it was ravaged in late October by Superstorm Sandy. Margot and Antony’s home was nearly destroyed by the flooding and high winds of Sandy.
Anthony, a World War II veteran and artist, lost hundreds of his own paintings and sculptures in the storm, along with most of their personal possessions. Through my friend's charity, Rockaways Beach 119th St. Rockaway Angels, we have raised funds to donate a Home Depot card to help the couple offset the expenses of clean up. To date, our students’ efforts have raised $1621. Even better, an anonymous donor in New York City will match our funds.
My advisees have passed a bucket at the Vanguard/Giant Steps show, sold water and popcorn at the two Middle School play performances in November, and they organized a Middle School bake sale on November 20. All efforts are being organized and staffed by the students and their parents. We recently received word that Anthony was so moved by our efforts – especially that artists are helping artists – that he is giving us one of his salvaged paintings. Obviously, the kids were thrilled with this news.
Marcie Allen, a native of Nashville and president of MAC Presents in New York City, is my friend who founded Rockaways Beach 119th St. Rockaway Angels. She joined us on Campus on November 27 and addressed the Middle School during Assembly. After thanking our students for their hard work, Marcie presented Anthony’s painting to my advisory, which we have hung with great pride.
When I asked my students what they felt after providing so much for an elderly couple they said:
- "I was really inspired."- "It makes me want to help again."- "It's about being a good citizen."- "When I think about elderly people without things, it really makes me sad."- "It touched our hearts."- "It has inspired me to lead more service projects."
For me, it was very emotional. Thinking about Margot and Anthony living without power, heat, or easily accessible food and medicine breaks my heart. I was also inspired by the enthusiasm of my advisees and proud of them for leading the fundraising. It takes a lot of courage to ask people to believe in YOUR cause... to help fix a problem that means something to YOU. These kids organized the fundraisers, made posters, passed the bucket at the concert, asked people if Anthony and Margot could "keep the change" when they sold water and popcorn at the play performances, and inspired an entire school to donate. The rest of the student body came to our bake sale with their allowances, bought a single brownie, and told my kids to "keep the change." Students popped into my classroom on a regular basis who were not a part of my advisory and offered a couple of dollars from their allowances for our fund.
I couldn't be more proud of my advisees and our middle school students. We have good people here. They showed true compassion and leadership.
Shelley Roberts McLay ‘93
Middle School Faculty
Mrs. McLay's Advisory Group includes:
Ryan Sneed, Ella Rose Gallimore, Olivia Tutt, Nikhil Paluri, Avery Witt, Zach Bankemper,
Mia Churchill, Sally Kate Zaft, Christina Conrady,
Mason McKnatt, Sean Harris