Local students send love, supplies to Puerto Rico, Mexico hurricane victims (video) | VailDaily.com

Local students send love, supplies to Puerto Rico, Mexico hurricane victims (video)

AVON — Juno Nifosi is feeling the love that local students are sending.

Nifosi came to the valley from Puerto Rico and is teaching third grade at Homestake Peak School. Her family and friends are fine, or as fine as people can be whose lives have been rolled by a hurricane.

Students all over Eagle County are sending well-wishes and supplies to Puerto Rico and Mexico, which were both hammered by hurricanes.

Nifosi used to teach third grade in Puerto Rico. The school where she taught is gone, but her students are OK.

"They don't have lights or gasoline, but they are fine," she said.

Local students have rallied to raise money and collect care packages for Puerto Rico.

"I can feel the love. That's important to me," she said.

Valleywide effort

Not far away, Edwards Elementary School students mobilized the day Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. Two of their teachers came to their school from Puerto Rico, Ms. Karina and Ms. Rivera, to teach at Edwards Elementary, a dual-language school.

Olivia Hughes has been helping spearhead Edwards Elementary's relief efforts. In fact, a bake sale raised almost $700 in two hours.

"Us students wanted to help our teachers and their friends and family. We know it must have been hard for our teachers to travel away from their family and friends who they have been with forever. And now people in Puerto Rico are hurting," Olivia said.

Hurricane curriculum

Back at Homestake Peak, Nifosi turned the hurricane into curriculum.

She showed her students videos and slides of Puerto Rico. She showed them on Google Earth where her house and school are — or should be. They painted some flags and wrote letters on paper shaped like Puerto Rico.

"What do you think they need?" she asked her students.

"Batteries. Canned food. Toys. Sanitizer," came her students' reply.

Her classroom is full of canned goods and blankets and toys, batteries. She recorded the students singing the Puerto Rican national anthem. She is sometimes a television actress in Puerto Rico, so she knows about making things look and sound good for video.

On Tuesday, Oct. 10, they are doing a video chat with third-graders in Puerto Rico.

Still, it's tough being so far form home during a tragedy. The first week, she and her husband did not know about their family. Until a few days ago, they didn't know anything about her mother-in-law, whose house came down, but is otherwise fine.

"I want to bring my parents here. It's hard when you are far away and you want to help, but you cannot," said Nifosi, who is originally from Argentina.

"We have a lot of support from our school. The support we have here, I can feel the love."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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