Hard work, helping hands for Parrott Academy family
Parrott Academy friends “being there” for each other: sophomore Matthew Piwowarski from Greenville helps repair flood damage at Connor and Eliza Manning’s family farm in Jones County. Photo by Vicki Kennedy / Arendell Parrott Academy
Two weeks after Hurricane Florence whipped through Eastern North Carolina, the family of Travis and Mary Manning welcomed an outpouring of student and faculty volunteers from Parrott Academy who worked to reclaim their flooded farm home near Trenton. On both Saturday, September 29th and Sunday, September 30th, numerous students, teachers, and a few parents from the school pitched in with sweat and smiles.
Parrott senior Connor Manning has been a member of the school’s cross country team for two years. His sixth grade sister Eliza is part of a “Girls on the Run” after school program. Both of them are coached by high school teacher Leslie Lewis, the Academy’s community service coordinator.
Along with the student advisory board of the school’s SERV Society, she recruited other running team members and high school friends to strip the siding from the Mannings’ barns and sort through all of the wood, insulation, and soaked furniture that had been removed from their house by an earlier Baptist Men’s volunteer crew.
The students were helped by other faculty members, including high school math teacher Danielle Ouano. “I couldn’t believe the scope of the damage to their property,” she commented. “I felt extremely tired but also fulfilled after spending the entire day helping them.”
The Manning family was touched not only by the tremendous work effort but also by a financial gift. When the APA cross country team had to cancel a planned kayaking trip due to the hurricane, they decided to use the funds they’d collected to buy VISA cards for their teammate’s family.
“We’re so lucky that our school community is responsive,” said Lewis. “No matter what students have going on - studying for tests, applying for colleges, rehearsing for plays - they find time in their day to help out APA families in need.”