Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Saluting America Sandalwood Also Raises Funds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Saluting America Sandalwood Also Raises Funds

Article excerpt

Byline: Jessie-Lynne Kerr, Times-Union staff writer

Students at Sandalwood High School, moved by the tragedy of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, capped a week of patriotic fund-raising with a "Salute to America" assembly and memorial in the school gym Friday.

A highlight was the presentation of a check for $2,597.45 to the Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross to aid relief efforts. The students raised the money in various ways, said Blythe Brumleve, 17, a senior who helped lead the effort.

They sold hundreds of T-shirts which had been designed by senior Michelle Cooksey and Susan Taber, an American government teacher. They made and sold 3,000 patriotic ribbons. They held a pie-eating contest, sold hot dogs and staged tricycle races.

"This has been an awesome week at Sandalwood," said Principal Bill Gesdorf.

Marcia Latimer, chief operations officer for the Red Cross in Jacksonville, told the students that never before had the agency had to respond to a disaster of such magnitude.

"We are still working 24 hours a day at two respite centers at the World Trade Center site," Latimer said. In addition, the American Red Cross international division is assisting families of foreigners who worked at the World Trade Centers, the Pentagon or were on the four hijacked flights. Its military division is assisting the troops and their families who have been called up for duty.

"This has been fantastic," Latimer said after the assembly program. She said a lot of Duval schools had collected money for the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

"But a program of this magnitude that brings in the whole school is just great," she said.

The Sandalwood band played patriotic marches and songs, the Sandalwood Chorus sang The Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America , and everyone joined in singing Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA. Solemn-faced uniformed members of Sandalwood's Air Force Junior ROTC stepped smartly presenting the colors, unfurling a large U. …

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