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Brooke High School marked the re-opening of its clothes closet with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, left. The ceremony included, from left, Adam Haught, business administration instructor; Jeff Crook, Brooke County superintendent; Kenzy Collins, project foreman; Landon Hurley, My Hometown is Cool contest winner for improvements; Jack Minger, carpentry instructor; and Eric James, principal.
— Contributed

WELLSBURG — The Brooke High School clothes closet, created for students in need, has been given a new look thanks to many students working together for a single purpose.

The clothes closet and a food pantry are operated under the name Bruins Helping Bruins, alluding to the school’s mascot. They are run by a handful of volunteers headed by sisters Linda Abercrombie and Char Smith.

Abercrombie noted the portion of the clothes closet that is reserved for girls’ clothing recently underwent a facelift thanks to the efforts of sophomore Landon Hurley, art student Annaliese Schupbach and many students in the school’s carpentry and business administration classes.

She said it all started when Hurley won $750 for materials for the project through the West Virginia University Extension Service’s My Hometown is Cool contest.

He won the funds for the project after delivering a pitch to a panel of three judges. His presentation included a video showing the clothes closet and an interview with Abercrombie about Bruins Helping Bruins’ efforts.

Carpentry students, center, came together to install new shelving and shoe racks.
— Contributed

Hurley said he was aware of Bruins Helping Bruins because he knew of a few students who went there to obtain more formal workplace attire for Workplace Wednesdays, a monthly occasion when students in the school’s career technical program gather for business-style meetings and social mixers.

Under the direction of Career Technical Education Director Michael Berner and others, the school’s vocational courses have been designed to resemble a workplace environment, with students forming teams for various projects.

Since its opening several years ago, the male and female clothes closets of Bruins Helping Bruins have been designed to resemble a store.

Students in need are invited to select clothing from various racks and shelves, organized by size.

After learning the girls’ section would benefit from larger shelving, Hurley recruited fellow members of his business administration class to aid him in measuring the area and estimating the cost of materials.

Another portion of the closet is a colorful mural painted by art student Annaliese Schupback, shown with her art instructor, Sara Walden Roark.
— Contributed

He approached Jack Minger, instructor of the school’s carpentry class, about building the shelves.

Under the direction of Minger and student project foreman Kenzy Collins, students completed not only sturdy new shelves but installed shoe racks, noted Abercrombie.

She and her staff of volunteers received an additional surprise when Annaliese Schupbach, a sophomore art student, stepped forward to paint a colorful, floral design on the wall.

Adam Haught, Hurley’s business administration instructor, said of Hurley, “I am proud of him finding success in this competition and for his genuine desire to improve the lives of his peers and community members.”

Several Brooke County school officials, including Superintendent Jeffrey Crook and Principal Eric James, joined the students and Bruins Helping Bruins volunteers in celebrating the project’s completion with a ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the end of the school year.

Abercrombie expressed pride in the students’ desire to help their peers.

She explained this wasn’t the first time students at the school have supported the program.

Various clubs and student organizations have held food drives in the past.

Although students are currently on their summer break, Bruins Helping Bruins volunteers are continuing to pack boxes of nonperishable food every month for the families of those students who are in need.

Volunteers who are aiding Abercrombie and Smith throughout the year include Jennifer Smith, Suzie Tennant, Nancy Caravolos and Betty Straka.

The first day of school for most Brooke County students will be Aug. 15. Bruins Helping Bruins will be welcoming donations during the week prior.

Abercrombie stated school supplies and personal hygiene products are particularly needed and can be brought to the high school’s main office during the day.

The clothes closets are currently well-stocked, according to Abercrombie.

However, she is asking future donors if they will consider sharing various clothing items which they believe teenagers would wear today — as they frequently receive clothing that has belonged to residents who are older.

For information about Bruins Helping Bruins or to learn about making a donation to the clothes closet, visit its Facebook page or call (304) 527-1410.





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