Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Student's Supply Drive Goes a Long Way - Afghanistan; She Organizes a Drive for Students There after Seeing Pictures of Them

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Student's Supply Drive Goes a Long Way - Afghanistan; She Organizes a Drive for Students There after Seeing Pictures of Them

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

The pictures show a wondrous look in the children's eyes. Gratitude shines from their faces.

They had gathered with their parents near Kabul, Afghanistan, to eagerly await the arrival of a U.S. Air Force vehicle carrying school supplies.

The vehicle was there because of a 10-year-old Southside student who was touched by their need.

Laura Marshe, a fifth-grader at Hendricks Avenue Elementary School, learned of the children's desperate need for supplies from her cousin, Mark Smith, an Air Force captain stationed in Afghanistan.

"He sent pictures, and I saw the kids didn't look like they had much," Laura said. "I thought, 'wow, they barely have anything over there, and I really should do something about this.' "

Jon Marshe said his daughter's reaction came as no surprise. Laura, who is in Hendricks' gifted program, is a "type A female" who's always in charge of what she does, Marshe said.

Laura talked to her science teacher about setting up donation boxes in the classroom. She created a newsletter saying items such as pencils, notebooks, binders, scissors, paper, folders and crayons were needed.

"I was very proud of the effort she put out," said Marshe, who served a stint in the Marine Corps.

Laura, who started her campaign near the end of the last school year, was gratified by the response of her then fourth-grade classmates. School supplies came pouring in, along with medicine, baby pacifiers, toys and baby blankets.

Her teacher, Patrice Henderson, said she sent notes to other teachers telling them about the project.

"The kids were excited to help other kids," she said. "It's a case of kids loving each other because they are so innocent."

Even after the deadline, students were still bringing items to her classroom, said Henderson, who describes Laura as a wonderful, outgoing student. …

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