JACKSON TWP — The halls of schools in the Seneca Valley School District were lined in black and gold Thursday as part of a fundraiser for victims of the Tree of Life shooting.
Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, at which 11 people were killed and more injured in a shooting Oct. 27, will be given donations raised from Seneca Valley's “Black and Gold Day.”
Staff were asked to give $10 to wear Pittsburgh Steelers colors and jeans to show solidarity with Pittsburgh on a Steelers' game night, according to Linda Andreassi.
“So many of the staff wanted to show their support for the district and help in some way,” said Lauri Pendred, Evans City Elementary School principal. “It's just a way for our staff to show Pittsburgh support.”
Pendred said their main goal is to “spread the message of 'love is stronger than hate.'”
Students in the lower grades weren't invited to participate because many might not know the reason behind the fundraiser, and Pendred said the district didn't want to take that conversation away from parents who may have different thoughts on how to approach the subject.
“In the younger grades,” she said, “it's a little more difficult to talk about the mass shootings because we don't want kids to be afraid to come to school.”
Different grade levels and classes have already sent cards to officers still in the hospital, which Pendred said some understood and some weren't sure why the police were in the hospital.
Participation in Thursday's fundraiser was high.
“We generally have a lot of participation anytime we do fundraisers in our schools,” she said, “whether it's for heart health or cancer research — there's always a very supportive turnout.”
Pendred said some people end up giving more than what is required for the donation, but that the main point is to show support for “our Pittsburgh neighbors.”