Derby Students Spearhead Disaster Relief Fundraisers

Eugene Driscoll photo Two Derby High School students organized fundraisers that grossed $2,842 for Red Cross disaster relief.

Seniors Chase Boulton and Victoria Ramirez, both 16, were initially motivated by the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the August storm that caused some $200 billion in damage to greater Houston, Texas.

Unfortunately, Harvey was followed by a series of other natural disasters. Chase and Victoria opted to give to the Red Cross to use as the disaster relief organization sees fit.

“We saw what was happening and just thought we should do something to give back,” Victoria said.

The money was raised by passing donation buckets at football games, and a “hat day” fundraiser at the school.

A “cut-a-thon” was held at Maria’s Hair Gallery at 4 Division St. in Derby.

Victoria’s mom, Teri, works at CironeFriedberg, LLP, a certified public accounting and tax consulting firm headquartered in Bethel.

Her fellow employees raised money for the cause. The company matched contributions from employees.

Chase said raising the money was easy.

“We had support from the teachers, other faculty here, and the outside businesses,” he said.

Maria Bellone-Lajeunesse owns Maria’s Hair Gallery. She is a 1981 graduate of Derby High School, and a mother of two Derby high graduates, including a son who is an Eagle Scout.

“Derby is about putting a hand out to give out, not to take,” she said.

Derby High School Principal Martin Pascale said teacher Rebecca Bell provided guidance, but the fundraisers were mostly student-driven.

“Chase and Tori really pushed it forward,” Pascale said.

“This is a perfect example of what happens when you let youth leaders take the lead.They will lead and become role models for others to follow,” Derby Superintendent Matthew Conway said.

The students and businesses presented a check to the Red Cross Oct. 20 at Derby High School.

In the photo above, left to right: Teri Pough, of CironeFriedberg, LLP, Sharon Escoffery, Red Cross volunteer, William H. VanAlstyne, a partner at CironeFriedberg, LLP, Chase Boulton, Derby High School senior, Victoria Ramirez, Derby High School senior, Maria Bellone-Lajeunesse, owner of Maria’s Hair Gallery in Derby, and Superintendent Matthew Conway.

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