Harmony students give back to community

Joshua Harden, Jamal Hines, Kristian Thomas, Momin Islam, Jacob Stewart, Ailes Catedral, Jorge Valencia, Baylie Roland, Gabriella Mashiah, Jasmin Gill

Students of the Harmony Science Academy in Beaumont donated $1,500 to the Salvation Army to help needy families in Southeast Texas. Councilman Mike Getz and Harmony Principal Gultekin Kaya presented Salvation Army of Beaumont commanding officer Major Floiran Estrada and Michael Perez of the Salvation Army’s Boys and Girls Club with a ceremonial check Monday, Dec. 17, at the school’s library.

The Harmony Science Academy students collected money for the donation through its World’s Finest Chocolate Fundraiser. Students sold boxes of candy from World’s Finest Chocolate, who in turn donated about half of their profits to the school for charitable programs. Students earned enough during their fundraising campaign to donate the $1,500 to The Salvation Army and to participate in the Angel Tree Program through the organization. The Angel Tree Program was implemented to help make a merrier Christmas for local children whose families are receiving assistance from The Salvation Army. Harmony students purchased gifts from the wish lists of eight “adopted angels” chosen from the Angel Tree.

“The idea behind this for us is that we would like to see other schools participate in charitable endeavors in the community,” said Jeffrey Payne, public relations officer for Harmony Science Academy.

Harmony student council representative Baylie Roland said she and her peers worked hard because they wanted to give back to the community and support a worthy charity. Roland said it is not unusual for students at her school to participate in charitable endeavors.

“We like to do things like this,” Roland said as she addressed the Salvation Army representatives. “Thank you for everything you’re doing.”

Principal Kaya thanked the students for their efforts and turned to Councilman Getz, who then addressed the group.

“I just want to express my appreciation of your civic responsibility,” Getz told the students. “That is so important as you go forward in life. … I applaud you and thank you. You couldn’t find a better cause than The Salvation Army.”

“I am very impressed with what you did today,” Major Estrada said as he addressed the students. “You are setting an example for the community. … The Salvation Army is able to do what we do because the community cares. … This is a giver community.”

Estrada said the funds donated would benefit the area organization, which helps more than 2,000 children and families and provides more than 100 meals per day to those in need. Anyone wishing to follow the students’ examples and give to The Salvation Army can call the organization at (409) 896-2361.