Charlotte teacher enlists Ballantyne school to help a coastal school hit by Dorian

Charlotte teacher enlists Ballantyne school to help a coastal school hit by Dorian

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A Charlotte teacher says she cannot imagine a huge storm taking out her classroom, and her home.

“I know as a teacher, personally, if something were to happen to my own home, I couldn’t financially recover from that,” 6th grade social studies teacher Leslie Neilsen says.

Video footage of Ocracoke Island along the North Carolina coast after Dorian pushed through shows heavy flooding and damage throughout the area. Neilsen cannot help but think of her peers there, and the students.

In Ballantyne, she is enlisting her own Community House Middle School students and their families, to help.

“It’s nice to see them compete for something that’s for the good of other people,” Neilsen says.

They are seeing which homeroom can collect the most gift cards from Target, Walmart, and Amazon to send to students and teachers on Ocracoke Island.

“They can order anything they need,” Neilsen says. “Whether it’s for their personal houses, or for their classrooms.”

Earlier this week, State Superintendent Mark Johnson told WBTV that school, the only school on Ocracoke, took a big hit.

"Most of the island was underwater,” he said. “So, we are assessing right now immediately what we do for those students."

Now, Neilsen is hoping this project will be a lesson in her school’s classrooms about giving.

“I may never meet these teachers, I may never have a personal connection with them,” she says. “But I just know that if circumstances were reversed, I would hope somebody would do it for me, and I kind of know they would.”

Anyone interested in helping can email the teacher at

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