Florida and NC Charter Schools Unite Post-Florence

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In 2017, Hurricane Irma came up the east coast, causing massive flooding and devastation in many parts of Florida.  Almost one year later, in September 2018 Hurricane Florence reaped havoc throughout eastern NC.  She brought in rain for days, causing massive flooding, downed trees and devastation across the area.

These two storms had a few commonalities.  First, the obvious, they caused major damage to communities in both areas.  They displaced families, schools, even communities from their homes.  Secondly, and more importantly, they highlighted the GOOD in people.  They united those same communities, bringing people together from all walks of life.

Following Hurricane Florence, Cathy Hoffman, Principal of Big Pine Academy in Big Pine Key, FL reached out to Rhonda Dillingham from the NC Association of Public Charter Schools asking how they could help a school in Wilmington, NC.  The students and faculty of Big Pine Academy had major flood damage following Hurricane Irma and businesses and organizations reached out to them donating items, etc., but they acknowledged that what helped the most was money.  Principal Hoffman and her students were connected with Lori Roy, Director of the Cape Fear Center for Inquiry (CFCI) in Wilmington, NC which had multiple teachers and families who were displaced due to damage from Hurricane Florence.

The K-5 students and faculty at Big Pine Academy were eager to give back just as others had for them!  The students organized a drive where grade levels competed to raise money.  Some individual students took the initiative to have a bake sales and lemonades sales during the weekend and the school and students continued to raise money.  They totaled $1,387.08 that will go directly to students and teachers who were impacted during the storm.

The 5th graders at Big Pine raised $31.26 per student and won the competition!  When told that they would have a pizza party, the students met as a group with Principal Hoffman to tell her they wanted the money to go to help another school in the panhandle that was impacted by Hurricane Michael.  This just go to show that the students and faculty at Big Pine Academy truly are a special group and their kindness and generosity are appreciated.


The money from the Big Pine, alongside the donations and work that families at the Cape Fear Center for Inquiry have been doing will be a big help and will go directly to the teachers and families who are working so hard to rebuild and recover.

The faculty, staff and students at Cape Fear Center for Inquiry are thankful and promise to PAY IT FORWARD as our community and other communities work through natural disasters.  Thank you so much for helping CFCI and others remember that there is so much good in this world.

Lori Roy, Director, Cape Fear Center for Inquiry