Unionville partners with Texas school district in lesson on kindness

Submitted photoA students stands in knee-high water at his school, Hardin-Jefferson Middle School in Texas, in the background. The middle school has been destroyed by the water and Unionville High School is helping to rebuild.
Submitted photoA students stands in knee-high water at his school, Hardin-Jefferson Middle School in Texas, in the background. The middle school has been destroyed by the water and Unionville High School is helping to rebuild.

EAST MARLBOROUGH >> Unionville High School Principal Jimmy Conley’s is using the disaster in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey to teach his students a lesson in kindness.

Through a school acquaintance, Conley connected with a family from the Houston area that formerly lived in West Grove. He reached out to the family school’s principal and middle school principal and realized that the school district -- Hardin-Jefferson -- has much in common with Unionville, including the middle school’s mascot name, the Hawks.

“We realize just how fortunate we are,” Conley said. “When I talked to the high school principal, he said he me that he doesn’t know where his staff is, or even where his student are. And I’m here and my big concern is giving out locker assignments.”

On Friday night, Sept. 8, Conley arranged for a fundraiser for Unionville’s opening football game with Avon Grove. Unionville players will have logos on their football uniforms and helmets all year. There will be a station where donations and gift cards will be accepted.

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Already, Exelon Generation Co. LLC based out of Kennett Square has donated $10,000, and will donate an additional $1,000 for every touchdown scored by either team. Exelon representatives will also be selling T-shirts at the game with 100 percent of the profits going toward the cause.

Conley said one of his goals this school year was to focus on kindness and the fundraiser is a great opportunity.

Although the Hardin-Jefferson High School was unaffected, the Hardin-Jefferson Middle School is still under two feet of water. The athletic field houses and all sports facilities have been destroyed by the floods. The district had $1.5 million in flood insurance, and school directors there have decided not to do renovations estimated at $10.5 million, but to rebuild a new campus.

“The upcoming months will be difficult for the Sour Lake community, but I know that the kindness and generosity of our Unionville-Chadds Ford families will be felt by the Hardin-Jefferson families,” Conley said.

Only cash donations or gift cards will be accepted at the game.

Conley said the fundraising effort will continue throughout the year, and collection bins for cash or gift cards will be placed at all of the district’s schools.

“While they rebuild, we want them to know they have an extended family here in Kennett Square,” Conley said. “Kindness can have an impact on our community, and how we treat each other.”

About the Author

Fran Maye

Fran Maye is an award-winning journalist and a graduate of Shippensburg University. He and his wife Marianne live in East Marlborough. He enjoys golf and is a 4.0 tennis player. Reach the author at kennettpaper@gmail.com or follow Fran on Twitter: @kennettpaper.