As of June 1, the Oakton High School girls basketball team, in conjunction with other area teams and the generosity of local businesses and individuals, raised $22,575.50 for school children in Hurricane Rita-struck Cameron Parish, La.
The fund-raising effort, beginning with donating the proceeds from their last game, was spearheaded by senior Lauren Burbach's mother, Cindy Burbach. Burbach's dedication for the cause was cited by Cameron Parish School Superintendent Dr. Douglas Chance, who was present at a banquet on Friday, June16 to receive the raised money.
The fund-raising team, consisting of the Burbachs, coaches, Student Government members and local businesses such as YSL Hapmundo Studios and Ben & Jerry's, cited two reasons for the success of this project. One was that all of the money — not percentages — was going directly to Cameron Parish. The second was that it was going straight to the children and not local infrastructure. Chance's motto during reconstruction of lost schools and receiving aid was, "Make sure this goes to touch the children." With the students' welfare as the priority, Cameron Parish accomplished its three main goals in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita: the children finished out their school year, the seniors graduated from their actual schools, and the full staff of the school system was retained.
"Our people are spirited, self reliant ... with a tremendous amount of initiative," Chance said as he described the people of his parish and their success. He later attributed those same strengths to the Oakton-based team in their efforts to raise money and make a difference. He said he believed that the students of Oakton, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Westfield, Robinson and Fairfax High Schools who have all pitched in have set an inspiring example for his own students.
While Cameron Parish students are set to arrive to school on Aug. 21, there is still much reconstruction that must be done and supplies and materials needed by the students in this devastated area. Additional contributions can be sent directly to Cameron Parish Public Schools, P.O. Box 1548 Cameron, LA 70631.
— Stella Ostrander