Practicing What They Preach

“Overlooking the events of Hurricane Sandy would have been directly in conflict with our goals as a class devoted to doing service,” said Sam G., a senior in Mike Simpson’s Literature of Service class. Simpson will drive the donations the class has collected to Rockaway, N.J., Friday morning as part of a broader, sustained relief effort that the students designed to help the storm-ravaged Garden State.

“This is not a class that thinks people only need to help over Thanksgiving,” said Simpson. “Hurricanes have shown us what sustained relief looks like, and this is an opportunity to practice what we preach with thoughtful and sustained work.”

“We felt that our school community had access to a wealth of resources that could be used to help in the relief efforts. As a community we had the means, and therefore, a responsibility to help our neighbors,” Sam said.

Last Wednesday, 10 days after the full wrath of Sandy hit the East Coast, almost 400,000 New Jersey residents still had no electricity, public transportation remained crippled and lines of idling cars snaked for miles from stations rationing gasoline.

“Our family members, friends, neighbors and childhood vacation spots (for me, that means Ocean City, N.J.) are all in serious need of some help. I think we all recognize that,” said junior Erica J. “It’s hard not to.”

The students divided themselves into teams, each with a specific task, such as food collection, creating an all-school flyer for students’ lockers and writing and shooting a short film explaining their efforts and how to help. They accomplished all this in two days. “It was really cool to see the speed with which they got all this together,” Simpson said.

By Friday, the group had fleshed out their plan to travel to New Jersey. “We had a ton of really great guidance from parents,” such as Christine Auman, Michaele O’Brien, Ian Ruzow and Lorna Van Sloten, said Simpson. It was because of Auman’s ties and connections to Rockaway that the students chose to focus the efforts there.

Sandy killed at least 23 people caused more than $30 billion of damage to New Jersey. The task of rebuilding will take years, but the work has already begun and Country Day students are doing their part. “Fortunately, we were not so severely affected,” Erica said, “but that’s why we’re doing what we can to help, fix and restore those things we care about.”

For more information on how to help the Literature of Service Sandy Relief Drive, visit, or contact Mike Simpson.