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Students from East Palestine School District

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My name is Jeff and I am the father of a high school senior from the East Palestine School District. As many of you know our small town is under a significant amount of stress and uncertainty from the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train that was carrying tankers filled with hazardous materials. The derailment caused an unbelievable fire immediately and evacuation was executed by the East Palestine Fire and Police Departments. East Palestine called upon neighboring towns for help battling the enormous fire. The days to follow caused even more unrest in our small town. The orders of evacuation caused the school to be closed the following week due to the uncertainty of air quality and possible health hazards from the tanks of chemicals that could have exploded at any time. The decision for a “Controlled Release” of the chemicals, basically was an explosion and immediate release of these chemicals into the air. The 1-mile radius zone was evacuated as fear of possible death was communicated by officials to all that remained in this area. I paint this picture to you because the scene went from risking possible death from the chemicals and explosion to a week later everything will be fine! The children in the community are confused and stressed as much, if not more than the adults.
I now return to my daughter being a Senior student at East Palestine High School. Laredo is a high honors student, Drum Major for the band, on the golf, and tennis teams and a cheerleader. Laredo is also the student representative to the School Board. Over the days of mandatory evacuation from the town and school closure, the student population was stressed and uncertain of what would become of their town/school. Laredo communicated with many students during this time, and most were feeling that this tragic event may be long-lasting and the rest of their school year in jeopardy. Many student activities and sports programs are suffering many adverse effects caused by this tragedy to the community. These students left the basketball game on Friday, February 3rd, to later hear of the derailment that will affect the entirety of their school year. The stresses these kids are experiencing are no fault of their own but from an event that unfortunately happened in their town.
East Palestine is a small town with an unbelievably caring community. The students rely on the community to support their efforts to raise funds for social activities that are not funded by the school. The fundraising for Valentine’s Day was exonerated by the week of mandatory evacuation caused by the Norfolk Southern Train Derailment. This was a significant fundraiser for the classes in the high school and a loss of funds that will not be replaced. The classes, Band and Sports teams all have fundraising events coming up and it will be difficult for the community to support their efforts to lower the costs for their causes (ie. Boat trip for seniors, prom, uniforms, and end-of-season banquets) due to the economic impact and loss of profits by the businesses in the town.
I am asking for your donations today to give these kids hope and to continue “being kids” and to enjoy the events that other classes and teams have done in the past. Please don’t let this historic tragic event take away from kids just wanting to be kids. All proceeds from your generosity will support the students in the East Palestine School District.
Thank you so much for your time and any small donation will help these students attain their goals this school year. It will make a lasting impression on them that people outside of the community care about what they are experiencing and one day they may be called upon to do the same for others.

Please continue to offer support for the East Palestine students. We are almost 1/3 of the way to our goal. My wife is employed by EP schools, active with the band and coaches the flag line. We have both been employed by schools for many years and will make sure all funds reach these kids by transferring to the EP School Board. We will designate the social activities/events they are to be used for with the help of school staff. The direct effect of this derailment has impacted some students more than others and our full intention in this fundraising effort is to provide the District funds that they may need. Thank you so much for all of your support!!! Please continue to share our page!! 


  • Paul Heckathorn
    • $250 
    • 1 yr
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Tyler Kastl
    • $1,000 
    • 1 yr
  • Traci Gerckens
    • $200 
    • 1 yr
  • Kurt Hintz
    • $500 
    • 1 yr

Fundraising team (2)

Jeff Cienik
Negley, OH
Tina Cienik
Team member

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