Brooks holds hat day for recovering student
by Bradley Hartsell
Some of the first rules learned in elementary school are no chewing gum, keep your hands and feet to yourself, and no hats allowed.
However, on Friday, Brooks Elementary School students and faculty put on their hats in support of second-grade student Megan Winters, who fell in a well on Dec. 30, breaking bones in both legs, her left arm, and receiving multiple fractures in her face.
To show support, Brooks students and faculty each paid $2 for the right to wear a hat to school, in the event called “Hats Off for Megan.” According to Principal Dr. Julie Raschen, the school raised $2,140 despite only having 673 students and 59 faculty members. Raschen says many parents of students took it upon themselves to donate more than $2, including one student who brought almost $100.
With the funds raised, the school will build a ramp for Winters, who will temporarily need a wheelchair. All funds remaining will be given to the Winters family.
“We are so proud of the fight and spirit Megan has shown throughout the past few weeks,” said Raschen. “I could not be more proud of our students, our families, our staff and our community than I have been watching their support and love for Megan during this difficult time.
“They have risen to the challenge in every way imaginable. From cards to hospital visits to meals for the family, our school is committed to being there for Megan and her family every step of her recovery.” Winters’ second grade teacher, Veronique Camp, also participated in “Hats Off for Megan.”
“Although today was a designated day for showing an outpour of our love, compassion and support for Megan, students as well as parents have been calling or emailing me on a daily basis asking how they can help. Today is definitely a day that we can come together as a whole and show her just how much we care, love and support her.
“The response is overwhelming. Megan is preparing to show the world what we already know: she is not a quitter, she does not give up.” "Brooks Elementary is a family and members of a family help each other in a time of need,” added Lisa Nixon, Winters’ kindergarten teaching assistant.
“Our students and staff love Megan and were eager to help her and her family.” As of Friday, Winters had finished her second round of surgery and was awaiting transfer from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite, where she will begin rehabilitation. Although Winters was scheduled for transfer on Thursday, she remained at Egleston Friday morning, according to posts by a family spokesperson on the Megan Winters prayers Facebook page. The family is still waiting on word for when the transfer is coming.
While Winters and her family advance down the road to recovery, they can take comfort in the fact their daughter’s school is pouring out love and support. And classmates like Melissa Juarez-Rubio can’t wait to see Winters back in the classroom: “I feel so happy that we had ‘Hats Off for Megan’ today, because we miss her so much. I think by doing this today it will help her come back to us soon.”