College of Agriculture

Student Helps Organize Butte School Strong Rallies

Announced on: Friday, Dec. 21, 2018

Although the opportunity fell into her lap by chance, senior Jaelyn Dutton said her time organizing interactive assemblies for Camp Fire victims and Butte County elementary school children was a truly rewarding experience.

Following the events of the deadliest and most destructive fire in state history, the agriculture business major knew it was her time to make a difference. Initially, Dutton had planned to organize a backpack and school supply drive for victims, but upon reaching out to Butte County Superintendent of Schools Tim Taylor, he recruited her to be a part of a committee to coordinate rallies for schools in Butte County returning to school.

“The point of the rallies was to get kids back to their school to have a ‘normal’ couple of hours. At this point, the kids had been out of school for almost two weeks, so we thought it was important to get them back to their friends and teachers for a few fun hours,” Dutton said.

Rallies were held throughout the county on November 30 and December 7 and 8. Each rally was tailored to the age range and students, but overall, an abundance of fun and positive energy was present. Alongside their families and teachers, music, motivational speakers, entertainment, gifts, games, and lunch, this fun time was crucial to ease students back into school after three weeks of closure during the fire.

In addition to the fun-filled rallies, Dutton’s committee organized a “sister-school” system where students impacted by the fire were paired up with pen pals from neighboring schools in the county.

“The sister schools could remind their partners that they were there to help them and get them through anything they needed,” Dutton said. “I believe this was important for the kids after the fire to let them know that they are not alone—the entire community was affected, even if they were not directly impacted.”