Sheriff’s Association funds field trips for area schools

Sheriff’s Association funds field trips for area schools

Three schools received checks for $1,000 on Feb. 26, funds that will help with field trip expenses for students, courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Association (JCSA) “Cops Helping Kids” program.

According to JCSA President Deputy William “Ike” Eichelberger, the funds distributed to the three schools were raised at last year’s Cops Helping Kids Fishing Tournament. He said the budget constraints these schools face could mean students would not get to go on educational excursions like field trips to the Big Thicket or the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, for example.

“I have these educators here today from various schools throughout the county,” Ike said to those gathered at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility classroom for the presentation. “I want to acknowledge them and present them with a check – Sabine Pass Elementary, Hamshire-Fannett Elementary, and then China Elementary.”

Ike said JCSA has been giving money to these schools for four or five years.

“That’s what we do with the funds,” he said. “We give it back to the community to help kids in our community and various organizations that have to do with children.”

All the educators thanked the deputy for the funds, which they said are desperately needed.

Sabine Pass assistant principal Lorrie Seymour accepted her school’s check from JCSA.

“This will go to very good use,” Seymour said in an interview. “We take our elementary school students on a lot of field trips. They go to various places, like they get to go to ‘The Nutcracker’ and things like that. During the springtime, they go a lot of different places every year, and (Ike) is so right about budget constraints and cutbacks. We are just very excited to have this.”

Amanda Jenkins is the principal of Hampshire-Fannett Elementary School, another of the check recipients at the Feb. 26 presentation. That school suffered major fire damage in March 2014 and closed down for repairs. Jenkins said the school is now up and running smoothly, and that the funds her school received from JCSA would be put to good use.

“This helps tremendously,” Jenkins said. “It’s going to help in so many ways. Like the sheriff’s deputy said, our funding has been cut. We’re going to get to take a lot of kids to a lot of neat places. They may not have gotten to have the experiences we have had. Now, we’re going to be able to give them some great experiences.”

Jenkins said kindergartners at her school will get to visit Old MacDonald’s Farm in Humble, and first-graders will visit the Big Thicket to learn about the wildlife and vegetation there. Some students also get to go the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, a 34,000-acre refuge that is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the refuge’s website, “The marshes and prairies are host or home to an abundance of wildlife, from migratory birds, to alligators, to bobcats and more.”

Sandra Sherman, the principal of China Elementary who was on-hand to receive her school’s check, said some of her students, the third-graders, also get to go to the wildlife refuge in Anahuac, and other grades visit various historical and educational locales, indicating that those trips would be much more difficult without money from JCSA.

“This helps because we fund the transportation portion of the field trips,” Sherman explained. “We have to fund that through our campus’s budget. So this is going to go into the campus budget for the transportation for the field trips. We pay for everything: the fuel, the driver, the driver’s lunch. It’s expensive.”

She said providing the transportation is quite costly for her small school, and the money from JCSA will go a long way toward offsetting that expense.

“I think we have been getting checks from them for about three or four years,” Sherman related. “I was so happy to get a phone call from the sheriff’s office last week. We are so grateful!”

Visit www.copshelpingkids.com for more information about Jefferson County’s Cops Helping Kids program.

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