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Students in Oklahoma donate in honor of Vilonia

By Tammy Keith

This article was published May 29, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

VILONIA — Students at a junior high school in Moore, Oklahoma, who know firsthand the devastation a tornado can bring, read about the destruction of Vilonia’s almost-finished intermediate school and wanted to help.

The Oklahoma students raised $856 in honor of Vilonia, said David Peak, principal at Brink Junior High School in Moore.

May 20 was the one-year anniversary of the Moore tornado.

“We went through a process in our school district where every school wanted to adopt a different charity,” Peak said. “In appreciation of all the things people have done with us, every school was given the opportunity to select somebody. Our school wanted to help Vilonia,” he said.

Peak said students heard about the April 27 tornado that destroyed the $13 million Vilonia Intermediate School, which was scheduled to be completed in July and open in the fall.

“We had a yearbook-signing party, and we just told everybody, ‘Our goal is to try to raise $1,000 in a day,’” Peak said. “The kids did a great job; they put change in a little tub and came up with $856.”

Vilonia Superintendent Frank Mitchell said he thinks the Moore fundraiser was a good idea.

“I think kids can relate more if it’s [donations] going for kids their age,” he said.

Peak said the check, which has to be processed through the Moore School District’s system, will be sent later in the summer. The money will be donated to a charity in honor of the Vilonia School District, possibly the American Red Cross, he said.

Mitchell said he served on the American Red Cross Board in Faulkner County for six years.

Peak said he would have a conversation with Vilonia administrators before deciding where to donate the money.

“I’ve set up an account here, and we can still designate where they want it to go,” Mitchell said.

The tornado in Moore killed 24 people, including nine children.

The tornado that tore through Faulkner County killed nine in Vilonia, including two Vilonia Primary School students and an infant born to a woman injured in the storm.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or


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