BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Harper Creek Middle School hasn't been the same since the shooting rampage happened in Kalamazoo last month. School officials said once they found out that seventh-grader Abigail Kopf was a victim, they knew they had to do something to help her as she recovers. So they created Hats Off to Abbie.
"We have 860 [kids] in our school and they all want to help her," said Student Support Specialist Kaylin Critchlow. "So trying to find a way that every kid can feel included helping Abbie, and actually helping Abbie and her family and showing them our support without completely overwhelming them, we had to come up with an idea."
Hats Off to Abbie, Critchlow said, is a one day event that will allow students to wear hats to school, which typically is not permitted. It's scheduled for March 18th and they can wear any hat of their choice and donate a dollar to the Kopf family.
"The second part of the fundraiser though, and the part that we’re most excited about and in talking with Abbie’s mom, she was so excited about this, everyone who participates we’re asking them to make a sign and then take a picture," said Critchlow. "Then we’re going to put together a collage for Abbie of all of the schools and businesses we have participating."
Critchlow said Abbie's mom choked up a little when she heard about the project. She knows it'll not only cheer Abbie up but will help the students cope too.
"I think it’ll be an outlet for our kids," said Critchlow. "Most people have a hat, most people have a dollar. And if they want to come and wear a hat and give a dollar to Abbie, they’re included. I think it will be wonderful for them to then take a picture to know they are a part of Abbie’s support system."
School officials say that once word started spreading about the fundraiser, other districts decided to take part as well. Pennfield, Marshall and Battle Creek schools are also participating in Hats Off To Abbie. The idea came about this week and students are looking forward to participating, said teacher Andrea Fronsman.
"The kids are very excited," said Fronsman. "Her family I think is going to be thrilled because of the signs, to see the community support that it's actually flooding over to the communities that surround us as well."