A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Henry Clay High School JROTC students raise holiday spirits for special-needs classmates

JROTC students at Henry Clay High School heard about an in-house need and took the initiative to fill it, raising $1,300 in community donations to benefit a group of classmates. The two-week fundraiser covered a couple of new kitchen appliances as well as holiday gift bags.

Maj. Bill Larkin and SFC Brian Hunt had heard that the special education class had wanted to refurbish the school kitchen for the past two years. Practical-living skills are an important component of their learning at Henry Clay.

Henry Clay students with special needs hosted a Thanksgiving lunch in November. (Photo from a Nov. 16 FCPS feature story)

“They didn’t want us to go without any longer. They explained this to the (JROTC) kids, and the kids were excited and on board,” said teacher Whitney Burns.

The contributions came from fellow students, teachers and staff, family members and JROTC students going door to door as well as collections by a parent at work. Home Depot also provided a discount on the appliances, according to Larkin.

“Our kids were so surprised. The stove and fridge were wrapped in wrapping paper, and the kids got to unwrap them both. They had gift bags of hats, shirts, water bottles and other small things as well. This was a great surprise for us,” Burns said.

Desirae Carter, a junior, was thrilled with last week’s unveiling. “You know that show on TV where they tear down the houses and build new ones for needy people? That’s just like this!” she said.


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