Schools receive ‘tremendous’ support from all directions

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bainbridge has experienced a generous amount of outreach from agencies all over the country since Hurricane Michael churched through the region three weeks ago.

The school system is no exception.

The Oconee County School System announced last Friday that $12,400 has been raised by its students for Decatur County schools. Oconee is just one of many school systems and institutions that has donated. Others include Warner Robins, Statesboro, Harris County, Thomas County, the Department of Education and the American Association of School Superintendents.

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At Oconee County, each  of the 10 schools started a campaign to raise money to send to Decatur County. The idea was if 8,000 students brought in $1, it would make for a substantial donation.

“We were thrilled to see the number,” said Dr. Jason Branch, Oconee County Superintendent. “We felt really honored to be able to help like that.”

It’s not just others in the education field offering support for the Decatur County School System. The Salvation Army had a school supplies drive, and First Port City Bank is having a backpack drive to help students and teachers in Decatur and Seminole counties obtain the supplies they need.

Donations like these help the school system continue to serve families who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Through these donations and grants, neighbors and friends of the Decatur County School System throughout Georgia demonstrated how the livelihood and success of its young minds is crucial.

Decatur County Superintendent Tim Cochran called the help “tremendous”, mentioning that several other school systems have reached out to offer any assistance if and when they are needed.

“The support has been phenomenal,” said Cochran.

While classes resumed in Decatur County last Wednesday, Cochran acknowledged that many families are still reeling from the destruction caused by the storm. To help families get back on track, Decatur County schools created the “Bearcats Have Heart” program.

Those who are struggling can visit a confidential form online where they can anonymously request various needs they may have. All donations that the school system has received will be funneled into the Bearcats Have Heart program. Needs can include a tarp for roof damage, help with yard and house cleanup, hygiene products, clean clothes, food, water and counseling.

“We understand people are sometimes embarrassed to admit they have needs,” said Cochran, emphasizing the program is anonymous.

To apply to the Bearcats Have Heart program, visit


t1H2 or head to the Decatur County School System’s Facebook page.