FALL RIVER: When Laura Hill heard that her best friend Ronan Degaust lost his home to fire on Sept. 25, the Grade 4 student knew she wanted to help his family out.
In the days after the fire, Laura mentioned a fundraising idea that could help out Ronan and his family to her teacher at Ash Lee Jefferson School (ALJ), Kelly Ross. The response was immediate.
“My teacher said it was a great idea and we should totally do something,” she said.
That’s when Ross, along with the school administration, set out making Oct. 12 as a PJ day where every student could wear their jammies to school and they would sell popcorn. It was a resounding success, with the students raising more than $2,400 for Ronan and his family.
Ross said the class was very concerned for Ronan after being told about the fire. She was very proud of the kids.
“The class immediately started talking about what they wanted to do to help,” said Ross. “They wanted to have a bake sale; a garage sales; the family coming to live with them.
“I was overwhelmed at how much compassion the kids had for their friend.”
She said the family was approached about the idea for the fundraiser to ensure they were okay with it. They were.
When youngster Nicklas Jollimore heard about the fire, he wanted to do his part. He gathered stuff he didn’t want anymore and held a garage sale the weekend after. It raised $200.
“I thought I should do something because he’s my friend,” he said. “I was really excited to give him the money.”
He believes Ronan was pleased with what he did.
“I think he is really happy about it,” said Jollimore.
Hill explained it makes her feel good to see the support from the school.
“It means a lot to me to be able to help my best friend,” said Laura. “I really wanted to help him.
“I felt bad his house burnt down.”
She is overjoyed at the amount of support from her fellow schoolmates.
“I think it’s really heartwarming,” said Hill. “I love it.”
Ronan was appreciative of what everyone is doing for him and his family.
“I’m really pleased and grateful to everyone for this,” he said. “I really like it. It was a good idea.
“It means a lot for them to do this for us.”