HPS Gives to “Pennies for Polio” Project

HPS Gives to “Pennies for Polio” Project
Posted on 11/06/2019
polio hcam

HPS Gives to “Pennies for Polio” Project

In 1944, the City of Hickory suffered one of the country's worst polio outbreaks. Community members joined forces, and in just 54 hours, they built a hospital to care for those who had taken ill with this dreadful disease.  

What became known as “The Miracle of Hickory,” sick children from throughout North Carolina and surrounding states, were admitted to the hospital in Hickory, a hospital with one of the lowest mortality rates in the country. Hickory worked hard to save the children. 

An infectious viral disease, polio has been known to enter through the mouth or nose, and travel to the spinal cord. Polio attacks nerves that control muscle activity, causing temporary or permanent paralysis. Usually polio affects leg, arm, stomach and back muscles. But if polio paralyzes chest muscles needed for breathing, it can be fatal, though iron lungs have helped, some. In 1944, there was no cure for polio, but most people did recover with at least partial return of mobility. 

Now, 75 years later, many of the children who attend Hickory Public Schools, are studying the history of their hometown, discovering the significance of this celebrated anniversary.  Elementary classrooms have included the book, Blue, in literacy studies. Written by Joyce Moyer Hostetter, the story tells a young girl’s journey as she battles polio in her hometown of Hickory.

So when local Rotarian, Cliff Moone, approached Hickory Public Schools about conducting a “pennies war” to help raise funds in support of Rotary's global effort to eradicate polio, the district response was positive.  The entire district participated, with the nine schools collecting a total of $1,600.81 in pennies. 

The students at Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School (HCAM), a relative small magnet high school with enrollment of 168 students, pulled their resources together—to donate the largest amount of pennies, representing the district. The HCAM students contributed $380.92 for Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Project. HCAM, a school that actively participates in community projects, is becoming well-known for being a small school with a big heart.

According to Tracy Reese, HCAM math teacher, who organized the school’s polio pennies war, said the HCAM campaign was a grade-level competition between seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.

Our school was thrilled about the campaign. Each morning, on our HCAM television announcements, students ‘pumped’ the campaign by informing the school which grade level was in the lead. They had six days to complete the campaign. In the end, the freshmen class won!  The freshmen enjoyed an ice cream social and they will celebrate their bragging rights throughout the entire year,” said Reese.

Cliff Moone, local educator and Rotarian (Rotary Club of Hickory), who continues to lead the 75th anniversary celebration throughout Hickory, recently visited Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High School.  The frontrunners of the freshmen competition, Jamari Dixon, Skylair Pannell, Eden Johns, and Jakayra Robinson,  along with Tracy Reese and Principal, Eric Puryear, presented a check to Moone for the Rotary Club of Hickory to help eradicate polio, everywhere.

“I would like to thank all of the schools for participating,” said Moone. “We had 100 percent participation from Hickory Public Schools, and the Rotary Club of Hickory looks forward to recognizing the campaign’s top contributing HPS high school, the top HPS middle school, and the top HPS elementary school.

“After the counting of pennies, the top HPS schools to be recognized include: Hickory Career & Arts Magnet High, Northview Middle School, and Viewmont Elementary.  Congratulations to all and we sincerely appreciate the participation and support from Hickory Public Schools," said Moone.

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Photo:  
HCAM team contributes top donation from Hickory Public Schools for Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Project.  (L-R) front row: Jamari Dixon, Skylair Pannell, Cliff Moone, Eden Johns, Jakayra Robinson; back row: Eric Puryear, Tracy Reese

 

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