FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — At Notre Dame Catholic High School of Fairfield, they have school spirit for a school near New Orleans, where people are struggling right now.
Hurricane Ida damaged and destroyed homes, brought in flooding and took down power lines. It also caused a school principal here in Connecticut to teach his kids a lesson in kindness and compassion.
“Our hope is that not only are we instilling values and expectations in our kids that are going to last them both in high school and in life, but we’re also giving them the realization that the importance of helping others and helping to improve the lives of others whenever they can,” said Christopher Cipriano, principal at Notre Dame of Fairfield.
Principal Cipriano may have gone above and beyond the call of duty. He certainly went way down the road. He and his assistant principal drove 21 hours from the school in Fairfield to St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace, Louisiana, near New Orleans.
Cipriano says that diverse, Catholic school reminded him of the one he runs and loves here.
And they needed help — as he read in an email they sent to him.
“We have lost so much due to the flooding and wind damage from Hurricane Ida,” the email read.
So, Principal Cipriano rallied his troops. He put out a call for the students and the ND community to collect donations to help the people down there — everything from toiletries to food.
Some people donated money.
What ended up happening blew him away — $15,000 worth of donations and supplies. They rented a U-Haul, spent Saturday stuffing the back of it, and Principal Cipriano and his assistant principal jumped in and drove the gifts from Connecticut all the way to Louisiana.
When they got there, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“The images that you see on TV, to me, it didn’t do it justice,” said Cipriano. “But seeing it with my own eyes, your heart really goes out to folks.”
Heart is what his school community showed thanks to a principal and teachers who show they care.
“I learned that anything is possible and being kind can really make an impact in the world,” said ND student Shannon Miller.