Harrison Co. principal's efforts to buy shoes for students recei - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Harrison Co. principal's efforts to buy shoes for students receives national recognition

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Harrison County elementary school principal has received national recognition for raising money to buy shoes for 200 low-income students.

Heth-Washington Elementary School has one of the highest poverty levels in the county, at 75 percent.

"We've had several students who have had holes in their shoes, the soles were peeling off, we've been using duck tape and staples and tying together shoe strings," said principal Nissa Ellett.

But then students started asking to wear the extra shoes in the nurse's office.

"When that happened, I was just devastated. I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, this is so much bigger than I realize,'" Ellett said.

That prompted Ellett to start a fundraiser to buy a pair of shoes for her 200 students. She hoped to raise $6,300. The response was greater than she could have hoped for.

"In 24 days, we raised $17,000," Ellett said.

People mailed in money from all over the country, along with nice notes. So instead of just a pair of shoes, students got boots, gloves, hats, even candy.

"My perspective on it is if we can meet their basic needs, then they can focus on learning and that what's critical," Ellett said.

Teachers are always going out of their way for their students, but Ellett is receiving national attention for her generosity. She hopes the national spotlight will send a message of the power of a small school.

"Maybe it will spark something in another school district or somewhere else that can help other kids, so to me that's why I'm excited to be able to share the message," she said.

Ellett will appear on a national talk show you'll see right here on WDRB in a couple months.

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