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Students lend a hand by donating to disaster victims

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The Red Cross received a check from students at Alturas International Academy Monday. | Brittni Johnson,

IDAHO FALLS — For most kids, economics may seem like a boring subject, but for students at Alturas International Academy, it just got a lot more exciting.

On Monday, fourth- and fifth-grade students at Idaho Falls charter school got a first-hand look at economics in action. Over the last six weeks, students have been learning about natural disasters and specifically, how they impact society. After learning, they decided they wanted to help out those who had been impacted. The students chose to help victims of Hurricane Dorian through the Red Cross.

Hurricane Dorian was a monster storm that hit the Bahamas on Sept. 1, completely devastating the island.

“It’s amazing what these children have done for the Red Cross,” Red Cross Disaster Action Coordinator Claudia Warner said. “These are like sacred funds. These go to people that really need it.”

Brittni Johnson |

To raise money, the students decided to host a carnival. They worked countless hours behind the scenes to get the carnival exactly how they wanted it to be. Michelle Ball, executive director of Alturas, said the students projected how much money they would gather, made marketing strategy plans, built and organized booths and ran the carnival. They even cleaned the building afterward to save money, which Ball told them was $200 to $400 worth of work.

“We wanted them to know all the costs,” Ball said. “We came in the next day and it was totally spotless after they were done.”

In total, the students raised $4,171 for the Red Cross. They presented the money to them Monday.

Fourth graders Giada Berthenolli and Hanna Hopkins, and fifth-grader Kindee Shurtliff were in charge of running games like glow in the dark ring toss, minute to win it activities and a funhouse. They said the carnival was fun, but the most thrilling part of the process was presenting the check.

“I am really surprised we made over $4,000 because it’s just a school carnival,” Hopkins said. “That’s a lot of people (that came to the carnival).”

Besides the donation, students also learned Red Cross’s job from Eastern Idaho Disaster Program Manager Rusty Devereaux. He explained to them what it means to prepare, respond and recover when hard times hit. Devereaux explained how the student’s actions in organizing the carnival would help victims get back on their feet.

“That carnival is going to help thousands of people in the Bahamas,” Devereaux said. “I can’t tell you how much it means to them down there.”

Brittni Johnson,

Brittni Johnson,