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Burned-out school gets help from Norrisville


Norrisville Elementary School in northwestern Harford County is about 15 miles from Sparks Elementary School, the Baltimore County school destroyed by fire in January.

But Norrisville parents and teachers were touched by the school's devastating loss and wanted to do something to help.

So the Parent-Teacher Association decided to give Sparks the money from its Valu Food receipt campaign, said Jamie Swank, mother of a Norrisville fourth-grader, PTA president and chairwoman of the school's register-receipt committee.

"We knew it wouldn't be much" was the refrain Thursday from Ms. Swank and Norrisville Principal Richard P. Russell, who presented the Valu Food check to a Sparks teacher.

The school is small, they explained, almost apologizing for the amount: $146.69.

L "It still means a lot," said Sparks teacher Lynda McInturff.

She nearly cried when describing the outpouring of support from schools such as Norrisville -- not to mention contributions from teachers and parents -- that heard about the fire and wanted to help.

Ms. McInturff, a resident of Winterstown, Pa., stopped at Norrisville on her way to work Thursday to accept the check from Norrisville officials and from Valu Food's district manager, John Speights.

"I lost 23 years of supplies," Ms. McInturff, a third-grade teacher, said. "I tear up."

But the school's destruction -- no one was hurt in the fire -- has brought out the good in people, she said. "The teachers, the children -- it's just been so special, so overwhelming."

The Sparks school -- its 300 students and their teachers have been holding classes in Cockeysville Middle School -- can use the cash.

"You go in our library, and it's about the size of the faculty room," Ms. McInturff said. "And there are some shelves, but there is not much on the shelves."

In the Valu Food campaign, shoppers give their receipts to the school, which gets a contribution from the store toward computers and other items it needs.

The money would have been put to good use at Norrisville. "It's not that our coffers are overflowing or anything," Mr. Russell said. But, he said, he and his school were glad to help in the wake of "complete devastation" at another school.

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