Faculty Member Creates Charity in Memory of Former Student

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Faculty Member Creates Charity in Memory of Former Student

Brady Blaylock

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         She silently walks into the closet. Her eyes pause on the frame of a beautiful girl with shining red hair.  Putting a shirt on a hanger, she smiles with a warm feeling in her heart. Then, she takes a step back to look at all the clothes and shoes that will soon find their new owners in honor of a young girl whose time on earth was cut short too soon.

         On Tuesdays, a new feature at LHS, Andrea’s Closet, will be open  during all three lunches for students in need who will be able to pick out clothes, shoes and more that have been donated from the faculty.  Access to the closet is by invitation only, and will be discreetly given by faculty members.

          “The purpose is to provide a place where students can come who have needs that are not being met,” teacher Stacie Wheeler said. “Maybe they need clothes, shoes or toiletries that we can make available to them.”

          When this school year began, Wheeler came up with the idea to start a clothes closet to help those in need. She created this to offer hope to those who may just need a little help.

          “Our hope is that it will have a very positive impact,” head principal Valerie Payne said. “High school students can be proud and private and we are going to honor that as we identify students who may need to come to the closet. In doing so, we hope they become comfortable knowing we have a place here to serve them.”

          In 2013, Wheeler met a student named Andrea, affectionately referred to as “Red,” who pushed her way through poverty, diabetes, and years of struggle.  A year after graduating in 2017, she passed away in a tiny apartment with no one to comfort her during her last breath.

         “She became close to me quickly and I realized that a lot of her basic needs were not being met,” Wheeler said. “In the spirit of that, I started the closet because I saw that there are a lot students who are not having their basic needs met which affects them and their learning.”

          After coming up with the idea, Wheeler discussed the idea with other teachers. She then brought it up to Payne who agreed to help.

          “I can see her smiling face from heaven because she had a very caring heart herself,” Payne said. “I think all the way around this can be very positive.”

          Andrea helped out in the special needs program while in high school. She was devoted to one young man in particular and had a relationship with him that not many people had.

          “I started to minister to Andrea to help provide those basic needs and make a change in her life,” Wheeler said. “I wanted to do something in honor of her. She had a very tender heart and loved helping others so she would be blessed by what we were doing.”

          

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