Lions Club helps schools rebuild with sound investment after tornado

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When an EF5 tornado swept through Moore, Okla., last year, the storm leveled two elementary schools: Briarwood and Plaza Towers. Now the Lions of Oklahoma are helping the schools rebuild, one classroom at a time.

The Lions of Oklahoma recently replaced all of the Redcat classroom audio systems both schools had before the storm. It’s equivalent to a $60,000 donation, but for Shelley Jaques-McMillin, the principal of Briarwood Elementary, it was priceless.

“We really missed the Redcats this year. I didn’t think we would ever get them back,” Jaques-McMillin said. “But the Lions gave us enough to put a Redcat in every classroom!”

After the tornado struck on May 20, 2013, donations from around the world began pouring in to the Lions Club International Foundation. Troy Jenkins, the chair of the Oklahoma Lions Disaster Relief Committee, was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“It was a big deal,” said Jenkins. “We said, ‘Well, let’s get out there and help where we can.’”

They started addressing the most immediate needs, replacing school supplies and playground equipment. But they had the funds to do more, so the committee asked Jaques-McMillin what she really wanted, and she told them: Redcats.

Members of the disaster relief committee observed the Redcat in action at another school, and they came back impressed. By wearing a small microphone around their neck, a teacher’s voice was projected evenly throughout the room via a portable speaker, making it easier for students to pay attention and stay on task.

The team encouraged the Lions Club International Foundation to approve the donation, and on May 8, 28 Redcats were delivered to Briarwood.

“When I let the teachers know that the Redcats had arrived, they were here unpacking them and putting on the little microphones immediately,” said Jaques-McMillin. “You should have seen it – they were just hugging and kissing the boxes. I heard one teacher say, ‘I missed you, Redcat!’”

In total, 57 Redcats were donated to the two schools. Plaza Towers plans to begin using them in the fall, but Jaques-McMillin said Briarwood’s teachers didn’t want to wait another day.

“Our teachers lost everything, and the Oklahoma Lions gave a little piece back to them. It’s helping to heal their hearts and their souls,” she said.

About Lightspeed Technologies, Inc.

Established in 1990, Lightspeed Technologies is the trusted provider in classroom audio solutions. Our passion is to improve the listening and learning environment for every child. We believe strengthening the connection between teachers and students is at the heart of learning.

Lightspeed classroom audio systems allow teachers to speak in normal conversational tones while being assured every child has an equal opportunity to hear all of the instruction. From the traditional installed systems with ceiling speakers to the new Redcat all-in-one, no install system, Lightspeed is proud to offer the very finest in classroom audio technology. For more information about Lightspeed classroom audio products, visit Lightspeed’s website.