‘Hat Day’ highlight as Holmes students, families aid Chesham fire victims

       Previous articles have cited Jackson Elementary, the Springs Vineyard Church and various businesses for volunteering help to the victims of the Chesham Circle fire Jan. 17.
       Holmes Middle School has also contributed mightily to the cause. According to Principal Rob Utter, students were given a chance, on a schoolday shortly after the fire, to donate $1 each to a US Bank relief fund in exchange for wearing a hat that day. In addition, the school put out an “all-call” to the school's parents, explaining the situation and that receipts could be provided to make donations tax-deductible.
       The result of “Hat Day” was $4,100 in donations. Another $350 was earned at an off-campus bake sale organized by students. “The community realized we have to help these people out,” Utter said.
       The fire destroyed the house at 1543 Chesham Circle near Holland Park, where a large extended family had been living. Several of them suffered burns - two of them critical - and almost all of them lost everything they owned.
       One of the children in the fire, eighth-grader Amanda Gutierrez, attends Holmes. She missed several days after the fire. When she came back, “there were hugs, tears and gifts from classmates,” Utter said.

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