Book drive nets volumes for students

Two pupils at St. Ignatius Preparatory School were definitely the teacher’s pet this week when six boxes of books arrived for their classmates.

Samantha Cridland, eight, and her brother Brandon, six, left the island after the hurricane to go to school in Kansas for a few weeks.

When students and parents there heard what had happened in Cayman they decided to do whatever they could to help.

They held a book drive and within a few days six boxes of children’s books had been collected for Kindergarten and Year One at St. Ignatius.

‘We had to go to Kansas because our house was flooded in the storm,’ said Corina Cridland, Samantha and Brandon’s mom.

Corina, who was four months pregnant at the time, spent the hurricane huddled with her family in one of the upstairs bedrooms while five feet of water flooded into the ground floor.

‘There were 11 of us altogether plus two dogs so it was a bit squashed,’ she said.

With no running water or electricity after the storm, Corina left for the US for a few weeks.

The family stayed with Corina’s sister-in-law Catherine Schrag in Kansas where Samantha and Brandon enrolled at Liberty View Elementary School in Overland Park.

Big-hearted pupils and parents soon learned of the Cayman children’s plight and pledged to do what they could to help.

‘We rang St. Ignatius to see what they needed and it turned out they had lost all the books for younger children during the storm,’ explained Corina.

Pupils brought new and used books to send to St. Ignatius along with everybody’s best wishes for the people of the Cayman Islands.

Through a contact at FedEx and courtesy of travelling as hurricane relief supplies, the books were shipped down at no cost.

Samantha and Brandon were able to settle quickly back into school at St. Ignatius which re-opened in October, just a few weeks after the hurricane.

‘They went back just like nothing had ever happened and we hope there won’t be any further repercussions,’ said Corina.

Jennifer Paul-O’Donnell, principal of Kindergarten to Year Six at St. Ignatius, said she was thrilled to receive the books.

‘It’s wonderful to know that other people were thinking about us after the storm. We really appreciate it,’ she said.