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VFL Staff Demonstrates Leadership During the Recovery Efforts following Hurricane Florence


By: Grey Tipton, VFL Literacy Coach

Vanceboro Farm Life Elementary School began the school year with a new feel and a new model, Leader in Me. This whole school transformation process teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture that every child can be a leader. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Florence, the delivery of Leader in Me was put on hold in the classrooms, but the true leadership skills were being modeled by the staff at Vanceboro Farm Life in their community.

The Vanceboro community and staff of Vanceboro Farm Life have worked effortlessly to rebuild the lives of many families and friends. The destructive nature of Hurricane Florence- which resulted in extensive damages to our beloved community and displaced our students, families, and staff members out of their homes- was a true test of strength for our citizens. Many of our school leaders, teachers, students, and families began to pull together and clean up the devastation that Florence left behind. Vanceboro Farm Life School head custodian, Brian Farr, and cafeteria manager, Donna Hohlfelder, worked countless hours at the school as it was used as a primary shelter for 140 community members.

The staff joined together in the aftermath to set up an onsite donation drive to deliver clothes, food, and cleaning supplies for those impacted by the storm. A family gathering and dinner was held at the Vanceboro United Methodist Church to join families and staff members together to reassure them that many volunteers and staff members were working hard to help their community and school recover.

As Vanceboro Farm Life teachers joined together to prepare for the return of students, their goal was not just to re-build back the physical spaces of their classroom. The goal was to BUILD COMMUNITY, in all sense of that word, and inspire kindness, connection, and the desire to stand together and support one another as leaders within the school and community.