Fredericktown, MO. (updated April 19) – A community grassroots meeting was held at Memorial Park in Fredericktown Thursday evening (April 15). People came in response to text messages and phone calls asking them to find ways to help with whatever needs the middle school students have. The burnt hallways and roof of the school stood just a few hundred feet away. They also want to define the next step in the process of helping and healing.
School Bus Monitor Mandy Griggs said, “In the past 11 months we’ve been slammed, and slammed hard.”
Fredericktown had just repaired the damage at the middle school from the May 8, 2009 derecho (inland hurricane). Then the fire began last Saturday night, burning well into Sunday morning, destroying most of the school.
In another tremendous tragedy for the schools and the community, the high school lost Teacher and Coach George Rollins, 29, to a fatal motorcycle accident.
“How much more can these students, parents and school authorities take? “ Griggs said.
The group of about 50 people came up with some general ideas on what they would like to see happen. They also said they want to create a video, tee shirts and messages to send out to others for help. Griggs said she had already sent an e-mail to the Oprah Show and intends to send more. The show ‘Extreme Makeover’ was also considered. The community wants help and wants to find ways to get the children back into a regular classroom arrangement.
The school had been built in the mid-fifties and many local people had attended classes there. It began as a high school. There are a lot of memories tied to the middle school and the Fredericktown/Madison County area. Several local events were held at the school including the Prince and Princess Pageant, (now scheduled to be held at the high school), Project Graduation’s Womanless Beauty Pageant and numerous musicals and concerts. Many of the middle school students are children of the families that attended the school when it was a high school.
Some suggestions brought up included a booth at Azalea Festival for donations, selling individual bricks if the building is torn down. A cornerstone plaque and maybe a case for the American flag that waved in the night sky as the building burned. However, there was some opposition to the flag memorial idea.
The grassroots organization said they would like to have tee shirts with SOS on them-Save Our School and/or Save Our Students. Also a video showing the loss the community has suffered.
Although many answers are still needed, the community is beginning to help. New Era Bank has started a collection drop point at there bank for school supplies and the Girl Scouts Pre-school book collections. The Madison County Extension Council is also a drop point for school supplies and Pre-school book donations.
Members of the group will also be attending local school board meetings and city council meetings. The school board meeting was held at 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, April 20, 2010.
Meetings are open to the public, but addressing the school board must be pre-arranged in advance.
The next meeting of the Fredericktown City Council will be 6:30 P.M. on Monday, April 26, 2010. Again, the Full Council meetings are open to the public. However, addressing the aldermen will require being placed on the agenda in advance of the meetings. Always call ahead the day of the meetings to be sure a change hasn’t been made. (783-3683).
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce is also helping out by providing some space on the website according to Board member Kathy Kurtz. A Facebook page is also under consideration.
If you would like to help in some way, please contact one of the following people: Mandy Griggs @ 573-747-9785, Cameron Umfleet-Simmons @ 573-915-7153 or Barb Stacy @ 573-783-7244 or 561-4542. You can also call the Extension office with any questions. 573-783-3303.