CEDAR GROVE, NJ — After the Bahamas were ravaged by Hurricane Dorian last year, Caylee Matejicka, then a second-grader at South End Elementary School, was inspired to take action to assist students on the Caribbean islands.
Upon learning of the damage the hurricane caused, Caylee organized a school supplies drive within South End School with the assistance of her parents, Chad and Cheryl.
Earlier this month, Caylee (who is now in third grade), her parents, student Daniel Barallari and South End Principal Lynn DiMatteo all joined Sadie Curtis Primary School in the Bahamas via Zoom call as the members of the Bahamian school expressed their thanks.
“I wanted to help them out, so I did what I can,” Caylee said of the donation of school supplies.
Caylee’s fundraising efforts spread to other schools in the Cedar Grove community, as well as to UPS and a retail big box store, all of whom assisted in the project.
“Most heartwarming was listening to the children speak and thank Caylee for all her efforts,” DiMatteo said. Addressing Caylee in a Cedar Grove Board of Education meeting last week, DiMatteo said, “You cared about those who you did not even know, but understood that they were hurting, and needed your help. We could not be prouder of the person you are.”
"God gave all of us an important responsibility to take care of the earth and each other," Caylee said in a speech to the school board. "I am happy that I was able to help the people in the Bahamas with the school supplies, but I didn't do it alone. Thank you to everyone who donated the supplies last year. Without the donation, this would not have been possible."