Anthony Bailey knew he had to do something to help Amphitheater Middle School after it was vandalized in late October, causing such extensive damage that the library may not open until next February.
Fellow students were hurting, along with Prince Elementary students who share the middle school’s library, explained 11-year-old Anthony, a sixth-grader at the middle school, 315 E. Prince Road.
So, he talked to his grandmother, Rose Tederous, about baking and selling cookies. They baked peanut butter cookies — topped with Hershey’s Kisses — and sold them to neighbors, at soccer games and at a birthday party.
“Anthony is such an amazing, warm, compassionate young man. He always has been,” said his grandmother.
The young man also started a GoFundMe account and with cookie sales and the fundraising website, Anthony had raised $1,254 as of Monday. “I didn’t think I could raise so much money,” he said proudly. “I want to thank everyone who supported me.”
He was honored at a recent Amphitheater Middle School assembly for his work as some 800 students, faculty, staff and family cheered him on, said Assistant Principal Phil Tilicki. “The student reaction was fantastic. They were shocked when they heard how much he raised.”
Anthony received a Ben’s Bell certificate for demonstrating “kindness to the school.”
Overall since the vandalism, nearly $10,000 has been raised by the Tucson-area community for the Amphi Foundation, the charitable organization that supports Amphitheater Public Schools, said Amy Sharpe, a district spokeswoman.
On Monday, members of the Tucson Police Officers Association, and detectives who made three arrests in the vandalism case, presented a $3,000 check to the foundation in the school’s patio. The funds also were raised through a GoFundMe account.
Businesses and community groups, including a Girl Scouts troop from Marana, are hosting fundraisers and collecting or buying books for the students. Friends of the Oro Valley Library donated $5,000 and Tucson Electric Power Co. is donating 19 computers for the lab, said Sharpe.
“The support has been amazing. People within and outside of our district are reaching out to help the kids,” she said. The damage caused by the vandals is covered by the district’s insurance, she said, but a damage estimate has not been released by the district. Initially, police said it was more than $200,000.
In the meantime, the students need books, computers and other technological teaching tools that were destroyed by a fire and heavy smoke damage in the library. Sharpe said the money raised by the community will be used to replace some of those items, including a large throw rug that the elementary students are asking for so they can sit on it during reading groups.
Three boys ages 12, 13 and 15 were arrested earlier this month and booked into the Pima County Juvenile Detention Center, each on suspicion of felony burglary, felony aggravated criminal damage and felony arson of an occupied structure, police said.
The vandalism, including broken windows, destruction of computers and other equipment, occurred Oct. 28-29. Four schools in the district were vandalized, but the most damage was at the middle and elementary schools.