EDSS students have rallied around one of their own following a family tragedy, launching an online fundraising campaign and holding a barbecue this week.
The GoFundMe page raised more than $3,000 in a matter of days.
The effort follows the death of an Elmira man whose son is a Grade 12 student at the high school. Peter F. Peters, 46, was killed June 13 on an Illinois highway when he was sideswiped by another truck as he inspected the load of his own transport truck. He is survived by his wife Helena and two children.
Peters was parked on the right shoulder of the eastbound Interstate checking his load down in the States when another truck sideswiped him, explained teaching staff at EDSS. His son, Jacob, is a grade 12 student at EDSS. His older sister, Eva is in a wheelchair due to spina bifida, a condition she was born with.
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Jacob Peters’ fellow Grade 12 students have all pitched in to help the family. Their first initiative was the GoFundMe page.
“We raised over $3,000 so far. It’s really amazing,” said Jenna Matthews, an EDSS Grade 12 student. The page was just started on Monday.
The students also held a bake sale and barbecue hosted at lunchtime in Tuesday. Students sold a variety of items to raise money for the cause.
“We [were] selling hot dogs, water and burgers, and inside selling baked goods,” explained Matthews. “All of the money is going to go to the family. We have posters all over the school and the link is in our school Instagram bio, and we’ve made announcements and gone class to class.”
“We’re not on a committee or anything; we’re all good friends,” added student Crystal Haycock. “We knew Jacob was a very caring person in our class who supported his family as best he could. So we thought we would show the same support.”
While teachers and staff have voiced their support, the efforts have all been entirely student-run.
“This has all been the Grade 12 students supporting the family,” said Deb Duimering, a teacher at EDSS. “It would be great if the community could help out with that, that would be awesome.”
The school year is nearly finished for the students, however they still found time to give it their all.
“We’re almost at the end of classes,” said Duimering. “[Wednesday] is the last day of classes. They got this in very quickly, because after that it’s exams, so it’s not the regular student body so you guys got this together very quickly. Even figuring out the GoFundMe page would have been difficult.”
The truck that hit Peters on the highway near Vandalia, IL fled the scene. Police report they arrested a 60-year-old Missouri man two days later in Ohio, charging him with failure to report an accident involving a death.
Anyone interested in learning more or contributing can visit the GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/peterfamilyfunding.