CHS hosts benefit concert to help school destroyed by Hurricane Dorian

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Members of Charlottesville High School's choirs used their talents in a benefit concert Tuesday to help a school in North Carolina destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

The Ocracoke School, on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, has not been in session for the last month because of the damage.

CHS Choir Director Will Cooke has gotten to know the tiny island of Ocracoke well over his 20 years vacationing there. So when the only school the community was destroyed, he knew he wanted to help.

"After the photographs, we saw them from Ocracroke of the destruction of the school,” said Cooke, "we said we can do something. We might not be able to write a check but we can host an event for people to come to and that's what we're doing."

Ocracoke school has to be completely rebuilt. School started back up finally on Monday for the kindergarten through 12th-grade students, but in three different locations as their new school is being built.

"The building is about $4.2 million just to fix the building,” said Cooke. “And then, of course, there's furniture, books, technology and all the things that make a school a school that needs to be replaced."

Luckily, Cooke has hundreds of students who wanted to help too.

"Like they said, if Mr. Cooke asks you to do something, you have to do it,” said one of Cooke’s singers, Abbey Ellerglick.

Ellerglick is a sophomore at CHS who performed in the choir and with her dad as an individual act in the concert. She said a concert is a great way to raise money and help others.

"I think it's the best way for any cause because it brings people together so well,” said Ellerglick. “And you get to see people share their art and it's really awesome."

Austyn Nowell, a senior at CHS who also performed as one of the individual acts and with the choir, said it feels good to be giving back now after other schools have been willing to help them in the past.

"A few years ago, when the Unite the Right Rally came to Charlottesville, we had some kids from Nashville come and they sang with us,” said Nowell. “That felt really good and now to be able to be doing that for other people it's really nice. It makes you feel warm and fuzzy."

A silent auction was held before the concert with gift baskets and vacation offers. Between that and donations, they raised almost $8,000 for the Ocracoke school and are hoping for more.

Donations can still be made by using venmo for @Will-Cooke-6 or by dropping off a check for Cooke at CHS with the following information: CHS Choral Boosters, Attn: Will Cooke, Charlottesville High School, 1400 Melbourne Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901 with "OCRACOKE SCHOOL" in the memo line.

In order to help the school's athletics program, which also saw fields and the indoor gym destroyed in the storm, click on the link in the Related Links box.

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