WELLSBURG — A Brooke High School student entered a contest not to win prizes or money for himself but to help a charity that has helped many of his peers.
Landon Hurley, a sophomore at the school, won $750 through the West Virginia University Extension Service’s My Hometown is Cool contest for materials needed to install new shelves for the clothes closet that is part of the Bruins Helping Bruins program.
Overseen by volunteers Linda Abercrombie and Char Smith, the program provides assorted clothing and food to local students in need.
Hurley said he was aware of the program because he heard that students who lacked clothes for Workplace Wednesdays, a monthly occasion when the school’s business students wear more formal attire and gather for business-style meetings and social mixers.
He said he approached Abercrombie and Smith about what they might need for the program and learned they could use a more expansive shelving area to store and display clothing for female students.
The clothes closet consists of two rooms, one for girls and another for boys, resembling a store so students may browse for the shirts, pants, shoes and other clothing they need.
Hurley enlisted fellow students in his business administration class to help him plan the project, including taking measurements for the shelves and estimating costs. He also asked carpentry instructor Jack Minger to involve his students in building the shelves.
Abercrombie added Annaliese Schupbach, a sophomore art student at the school, is in the process of painting a large flower design on a wall in the room to add a little artistic flare.
Hurley said he hopes the project can be completed by the end of the year.
Adam Haught, his business administration instructor, said Hurley submitted a short video for the contest that included scenes of the clothes closet and an interview with Abercrombie.
Hurley noted he also appeared before a panel of three judges to pitch the project.
Haught said of Hurley, “I am proud of him finding success in this competition and for his genuine desire to improve the lives of his peers and community members.”
Jason Rine, Brooke County WVU Extension agent, noted it’s not the first local project to have been supported by the contest.
He noted Brooke High School students Jace Campinelli and Olivia Rocchio won $2,500 from the competittion’s sponsors to refurbish the boat house at Brooke Hills Park into a game room appealing to teens.
The Wellsburg Kiwanis Club also has provided $1,000 for the effort.
Haught said the students and members of the school’s chapter of Future Business Leaders of America have painted its interior and exterior but other work has been postponed because the floor requires some repair.
Other Brooke County participants in the My Hometown is Cool contest have received a boost from local supporters.
Ava Thompson and Madelyn Peterson received a donation from Eric Fithyan and Chris Fox to build squirrel nesting houses along the Panhandle Trail, while Grace Huntzinger and Alaina Bilby received funds from the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce to repaint the city’s fire hydrants.
Rine said, “These achievements continue to positively impact Brooke County, showcasing the innovative spirit of the students and their dedication to making a difference in their hometown.”
Abercrombie said in addition to providing clothing to students in need, Bruins Helping Bruins provides food for those with financially struggling families.
Depending on the family’s need, non-perishable food for use on weekends is sent home with students at the end of each week or a mix of perishable and non-perishable food is delivered to homes monthly.
The latter is delivered by staff at the Bruin Bridge alternative school or the school district’s Communities in Schools program.
“We are very fortunate to have four churches that collect food for us, purchase stuff for us or make monetary donations,” said Abercrombie, who added, “We also have numerous civic groups and businesses that make yearly donations. And we can’t leave out the high school kids who make their own contributions.”
The Future Business Leaders of America is accepting donations of chunky soup, which may be dropped off at the school’s main office.
Families of Brooke County students needing help or anyone wishing to help Bruins Helping Bruins can call the school at (304) 527-1410.
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