Kurt Brochu, 13, of Jay, counts pennies Friday for a drive he spearheaded to help people in Haiti. Students and staff at Jay Middle School raised more than $400 this week and Brochu still had more to count.

Kurt Brochu, 13, of Jay, counts pennies Friday for a drive he spearheaded to help people in Haiti. Students and staff at Jay Middle School had raised more than $400 this week and Brochu still had more to count.

JAY — Thirteen-year-old Kurt Brochu saw a news broadcast on the earthquake in Haiti that showed a baby dying and fire all around.

He knew he had to do something to help.

He kept his mouth shut at first and continued to watch the news while working during his woodworking class.

“I was a little nervous about what others would think,” the seventh-grader at Jay Middle School said, “but then Mrs. (Pam) Newton suggested we do something to help. I said ‘yes, I was just thinking about it.'”

The two took the idea to school secretary Kim Cook.

“She flipped out. She thought it was a great idea,” Brochu said Friday.

He wrote a letter to Principal Scott Albert about his proposal for the fundraiser.

“Mrs. Newton (a substitute teacher) helped me,” he said. “Then we organized what we were going to do. We decided we would have a large baggie for each homeroom to put the money in, and I made up a sign ‘Pennies for Haiti.'”

When it came time to write his presentation Mrs. Cook would read over the intercom to students and staff, the jitters hit him again.

“I didn’t know how to do it,” Brochu said.

Again, Mrs. Newton eased his fears and helped him with it.

He delivered the final wording to Mrs. Cook.

“I was so nervous. I didn’t know what people were going to think about ‘Pennies for Haiti,'” he said. “But people said ‘You came up with the idea?’ They came up to me all week and said ‘you came up with this idea?'”

As he talked Friday morning, he took pennies out of a bag and counted them. He put them in a tube that fit 50 cents. He separated the other coins out.

He was relieved that everybody else thought it was a good idea.

Each time his presentation was read, Mrs. Cook said “Brought to you by Kurt Brochu.”

It made him feel good, he said, to be able to help people who needed it most.

“Today’s the last day,” Brochu said. “We’re going to do a bottle drive in March for the same cause because they’re going to need some help to get back up where they were, so they can start to build buildings again.”

As of Friday morning, more than $400 was collected and they were not done counting. The money will go to the Red Cross for Haiti, he said.

“I like it. I just like just helping them. I used to not help people and after this, I’m helping people,” he said.

He asked a senior citizen if she needed help with her groceries recently and she did. So he helped her.

“Before I was nervous about asking people if they need help but ever since this, I’m not. I ask people, and if they don’t want help, they’ll say ‘no,'” he said. “Most people say ‘yes.'”

He’s also talking to more people.

People have been very generous, not only giving pennies and coins but he had a friend give a $20 bill, he said.

He was surprised at the response from the newest members of the school. The fourth-grade classes moved up to the middle school this year.

“When you ask for pennies, fourth-graders give you pennies,” he said.

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Kurt Brochu, 13, of Jay, counts pennies Friday for a drive he spearheaded to help people in Haiti. Students and staff at Jay Middle School had raised more than $400 this week and Brochu still had more to count.


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