NAUGATUCK — When a water pipe burst at Peck Place Elementary School in Orange, the school lost more than a place to hold class.
Hundreds of books and piles of school supplies were damaged during the unfortunate event in January.
Since then, students from Naugatuck, most of whom didn’t know those affected in Orange, worked tirelessly to help them. They collected new or gently used books and school supplies to donate. On Tuesday, two Western Elementary School teachers who collaborated on the fundraiser with their students filled cars with the books and hand-delivered them.
“The (Western) students were very excited; all day they were saying, ‘Are you bringing the books today?’ It was great to see their enthusiasm for helping others,” said Pam Quinn, a first-grade teacher at Western who organized the event with fellow teacher Sarah Lefebvre.
When the pipe burst at Peck Place, cleanup crews discovered asbestos. Due to the time of the cleanup, the students were not be able to go back for the remainder of the school year.
For the first few weeks, students were split among other Orange elementary schools, until they found a better location at Yale University’s West Campus. An unused office building on campus was converted into temporary classroom space.
Filling that space was another issue.
Several people have donated supplies, and Naugatuck’s huge donation will help.
The local students gave between 500 and 600 books, 40 boxes of crayons, 27 boxes of markers, 150 pencils, scissors and gift cards.
Before working at Western, Lefebvre said, she worked at Peck Place as a long-term substitute.
When Western school staff was looking for community service projects for students, Lefebvre thought helping her old school was an easy choice.
“Everybody stepped up to help,” Peck said. “I’m proud of our students and our school.”