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November 18, 2012 12:10 am


Margaret Brent Elementary School computer technician Janet Schott says she came to work in tears the week Hurricane Sandy hit.

The superstorm in late October devastated her hometown of Broad Channel in New York City and forced her mother and brothers out of their homes.

It also displaced students at P.S. 47, a K-8 public school in Broad Channel that Schott attended in kindergarten.

"It was a rough week," said Schott, 47, who has lived in Stafford County for the past 20 years.

But she said the support from Margaret Brent Elementary in North Stafford has been overwhelming.

The Parent Teacher Organization spearheaded a "Schools Helping Schools" effort to collect items--such as blankets, coats, book bags, diapers and school supplies--for the Broad Channel community and P.S. 47.

Hilldrup Moving & Storage donated a driver and a truck to drop off the goods to Broad Channel this Tuesday. Stafford business Impact Impressions has also made several donations, including a sign to advertise the collection.

"Every school is a reflection of their community," PTO President Holly Hazard said. "It was just really neat to see people wanting to get involved."

She hopes Margaret Brent can have a long-term relationship with P.S. 47.

Schott called Hazard the "backbone" of the effort. "She really has done a tremendous job putting this all together," said Schott, who also said she's grateful to other Stafford schools that have helped out.

A 10- by 20-foot storage container in Margaret Brent's parking lot contains all of the donations. Parent volunteers were collecting items Saturday at Margaret Brent on 2125 Mountain View Road and will be there again today from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Schott plans to drive to Broad Channel on Monday to help deliver items to her hometown's public school. She's been in touch with the principal, who told her the students lost all of their school supplies.

Schott said she's optimistic about Broad Channel's future.

"They're going to bounce back and be bigger and better than ever," she said.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402

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