September Make a Difference Award: Riley Elementary, exercising hospitality to the fullest extent

WTHI Photo, Lonnie Wiram

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – It took many hands to keep Sarah Scott Middle School classes from being interrupted after a bat infestation at the school.

The beliefs of Riley Elementary School mention dedication to learning, growing together and having an atmosphere of comfort and respect.

Well, when the school’s population temporarily doubled in size, they exercised those beliefs and their hospitality to the fullest extent.

Because, it was the last thing educators at Riley Elementary expected to hear that mid-August day.

“What went through my mind was, ‘Oh my goodness, we are hearing about this “this” afternoon and they will arrive at 8’ tomorrow morning,’” explained Mara Hayne, Riley Elementary Speech Pathologist.

As you know, a colony of bats took up residence in Sarah Scott Middle School.

The building was deemed unsafe by the health department and that decision was the catalyst of a serious logistical challenge for the Vigo County School Corporation: Where to place 400 middle schoolers within the district?

“When first heard we were going to do this, I just thought, ‘what a better place!” said Carla Henry, 3rd Grade Teacher. “I think of Riley as a really friendly school.”

And that warm, can-do attitude instantly rippled through the school.

“The teachers, the staff here, everybody volunteering to help… ‘I’ve got extra books, I’ve got extra desks … chairs,’ that kind of thing. It really was a group involvement.”

If you know of someone or an organization you would like to nominate for the Make a Difference Award, check out this link.