Science supplies worth $100,000 donated to Kanawha, Nicholas teachers

West Virginia State University students load a van full of science supplies, which were donated by the school to Kanawha and Nicholas County teachers. (WCHS/WVAH)

Science teachers affected by the June floods are making do with what they can to rebuild their classrooms, and they received a big boost from West Virginia State University.

The university helped a number of teachers from Kanawha and Nicholas counties Thursday by finding and collecting donations from local companies.

"It means everything," said Danielle Dexter, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School for the last 17 years. "It's our second home, and we lost that. And four of the six science teachers lost everything we had."

When the June floods hit, Michael Foltz, an associate professor of chemistry at WVSU, was thinking long term when it came to making a donation.

"They lost thousand of dollars of equipment, and knowing the science behind the equipment that they needed, we wanted to help with that because we couldn't help with fixing a boiler. People were helping with clothes, and they had lots of clothes. They had all the immediate donations that they needed. There was no one helping in the niche market of getting the science labs back up and running," Foltz said.

Dexter said the whole experience made her feel like a new teacher again because she has had to start from scratch to rebuild her classroom.

"We've just doing the best that we possibly can. Working with technology, trying to find lab equipment and trying to make it through," Dexter said.

Analytical balances, vacuum drying ovens, science kits for advanced placement anatomy and physiology, beakers, personal protective equipment, safety goggles and gloves are just some of the items on the the list of equipment gathered.

"We hit up a lot of the local science companies, the science research companies, the distributors, to see what they could do after they got the list from the science teachers of what equipment they lost. We tried to get these distributors and companies to try and fill the gaps," Foltz said.

Foltz set aside two classrooms to collect a $100,000 worth of equipment for teachers at Herbert Hoover High School, Richwood Middle School and Elkview Middle School.

Dexter said her science laboratory was brand new, and she had the majority of all the equipment in her room and it's all gone.

"I had 7 feet of water in my room and to walk in and see my microscope cabinet flipped upside down thrown against the wall, it was heartbreaking. That's our home," Dexter said.

Foltz said people were willing to help these students get back to a sense of normal and aid schools for years to come.

"Hopefully, generations upon generations of Herbert Hoover, Elkview students will get a chance to use this equipment and it will prepare them to go on to college and go out into the workforce here in West Virginia," he said.

Foltz said Corning donated more than $8,000 worth of glassware alone. WVSU students and staff filled four vehicles with supplies Thursday.

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