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story.lead_photo.caption The Sentinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen FLOOD RELIEF: Teachers and students in the Fountain Lake Middle School seventh- and eighth-grade Service Projects class gather Thursday with a truckload of nonperishable food items they collected over the past 10 days. The class sent out fliers and contacted area churches seeking donations to send to Live Oak Middle School in Watson, La., in Livingston Parish. The area was hit hard by the recent flooding.

FOUNTAIN LAKE -- Fountain Lake Middle School delivered much-needed supplies on Friday to a middle school it "adopted" in Watson, La., following historic flooding there.

"Kristie Dukes, one of our seventh-grade teachers, is in charge of the Service Projects class and they took this on," said Lisa Goodwin, a Fountain Lake Middle School special education teacher. Goodwin took a personal day on Friday to deliver the supplies accompanied by her husband, Bill, a retired downtown Hot Springs businessman.

"We basically decided to 'adopt' Live Oak Middle School and help them out any way we can. The students put out donation boxes in the community and in all of the homerooms here at the middle school and promoted it for the last two weeks," she said.

Goodwin has "quite a few" relatives in the Baton Rouge and Denham Springs area, and when she and her husband formerly lived in Alabama, "we always spent a good deal of time there visiting."

"They started school about a week or two before we did. When the flooding started during the weekend of Aug. 12-13, I was in constant contact with family members there, making sure they were OK. While so many of their friends did not fare so well, my family lived high enough that the water didn't reach their homes," she said.

"Livingston Parish was among, if not the hardest hit, of the areas. I began hearing stories of how 75-80 percent of the homes were flooded and that has proven true. The community of Watson, north of Denham Springs, was devastated and the schools flooded as well," Goodwin said.

"I talked with some of the teachers and students at school and we brainstormed ideas of how we could help. We knew that there were churches and other organizations that were traveling to that area to lend a helping hand, and that was very much needed -- still is from what I understand. But with school starting, we couldn't do that. So I was able to touch base with a teacher at Live Oak Middle School there in Watson, La., and she gave me a list of the things that the students and families would need," she said.

Fountain Lake Middle School students and teachers talked about making a banner that said "From Fountain Lake Middle to Live Oak Middle, here are some supplies to help you survive" but Goodwin says one student said, "Hey, they survived (miraculously few people died as a result of that terrible flooding), now they need to revive!" So the slogan became "Here are some supplies to help you revive."

"We are so proud of our kids and how they reached out and worked hard to help a school and kids and a community they don't even know," she said.

Ryan Hodges, the principal at Live Oak Middle School, met the Goodwins Friday with the cheerleading squad to unload the supplies at their school.

Hodges, in a statement released through Goodwin, said Live Oak Middle School has 1,100 students and 70-plus staff members. "About one-third of us flooded, 90 percent of which didn't have flood insurance," he said.

"We are so grateful to Fountain Lake Middle and the wonderful people of Hot Springs Village for their generosity and grace. Though this tragedy has been difficult, the human spirit shines through and lifts spirits. Our community is so lucky to have people like you who look over us in time of need. Thanks to all of you and God bless you," Hodges said.

"They put the picture of the kids with the banner on their school Facebook page and on Twitter," Goodwin said. "They are very excited. Plus, Bill and I had some individuals give us quite a bit of cash and we are using that to buy gift cards for those individuals who are so desperately trying to rebuild their homes and lives. A great number of folks did not have flood insurance because they didn't live in a flood plain. They are calling this a 1,000-year flood."

Local on 09/10/2016

Print Headline: FL students 'adopt' Louisiana school

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