THOUSANDS STOLEN FROM WOODLANDS EVENT

High school students who were trying to make a difference became the targets of a crook and now they’re out thousands of dollars. They hope someone can help get their money back.

The students from The Woodlands High School were raising money to help people live safer overseas. But someone ran off with almost all of their donations.

Two Woodland High School clubs held an event to raise money for a mine detection dog and while the event was a huge success, when it was all over, they had nothing to show for all their hard work.

Hundreds of students from the Council for International Affairs and Interact Club planned the event. Geography teacher Susan Hollier says they set ambitious goals for the ‘Laps for Lives’ yesterday.

“All of this came from the kids who decided they wanted to help people around the world that they are never going to see,” said Hollier.

The community was invited to walk both two-legged and four-legged members of their families, like Dixie, who won the dog trick contest. Senior Shelby Howard is president of one of the clubs.

“About halfway through, we had raised $4,500 and it was even busier the second half,” said Howard.

The made a big dent in their $20,000 goal of buying a mine detection dog. The students have selected Bosnia as the dog’s destination.

“Although it’s $20,000, a lot of money,” said Howard. “Just being able to raise one dog and save 10,000 lives, everyone jumped on it and wanted to help as soon as they could.”

But in just a few seconds, all their hard work and the profits for the day were gone.

“It was over at 12 and at 12:02, we were robbed of every bit of it,” said Hollier.

A man approached the money box and asked a student for changed and then distracted her by asking for directions to the restroom.

“It was just devastating, a lot of hard work gone in a matter of seconds,” said Howard.

The students chased after him but he was gone and so was about $9,000.

“Wow, in broad daylight, at the school, from a fundraiser,” said Hollier.

It was a tough life lesson for the day.

“When we were planning this, never did we think to watch the money box,’ said Howard. “We were watching it, but we didn’t think someone might steal it.”

Seems they’d already been taught a thing or two about perseverance.

“We’ll start again because somebody on the other side of the world needs that dog,” said Hollier.

The only money left was a couple hundred dollars that was in another money box. Some students who chased after the vehicle were able to give police a partial license plate number. The students and sponsors say they are hopeful the thief will be caught.

The students say they’re not giving up in their plan to help others. They’re going to continue to raise money for the effort.

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