Local High School Shares Special Connection With Tornado Victims

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some students at Briar Woods High School in Loudoun County saw the damage from the tornado in Oklahoma, particularly that at Briarwood Elementary School, and knew they had to do something. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on the bond they feel with the school and how they hope to make a difference. (Published Thursday, May 23, 2013)

    A Virginia student has started a campaign to raise thousands of dollars for a school destroyed in this week's deadly Moore, Okla., tornado because she has a special connection to the school's name.

    She paid close attention to Briarwood Elementary School, which was badly damaged in the storm -- because she attends Briar Woods High School.

    Brooke Wivagg is a junior at at the Ashburn, Va., school and said she knew she had to help after hearing the Oklahoma school’s name. Since Tuesday morning, Brooke and her friends have woken up early to collect money outside the school cafeteria.

    Wivagg says the money raised will go directly to Briarwood Elementary School and she hopes it will be used to be rebuild a playground or restock the library.

    "I go to Briar Woods. They mentioned Briarwood Elementary, I have to help that school," Wivagg said. "I knew I could do something to really make a difference."

    The day after the tornado, Wivagg said, “I told my teacher what I wanted to do and she took me to the principal and the rest of the day I had a container just asking people for money.”

    As of Thursday, the Briar Woods-to-Briarwood fundraising efforts have raised over $2,000.

    Brooke’s mother, Lauren Wivagg, has been spreading the news through her Facebook page and has set up a Pay Pal account for others to donate. Several local businesses have also gotten involved and have requested collection jars to help in the fundraising campaign.

    Lauren says she has been in touch with the superintendent’s office in Moore, Ok.

    "It's going to take a lot to repair [the school], so if we can just help the tiniest bit that would be great," said Olivia Shanahan, a friend helping Brooke.

    The Briar Woods group has scheduled a bake sale at the school for next Wednesday and Brooke continues thinking of more ideas to fund-raise. They will continue raising funds until May 31.