Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims, students with fundraiser

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Two metro Francis Tuttle students did some fundraising and gave a group of Hawaii students a big opportunity that the fires originally took from them.

It was all smiles for Francis Tuttle student Ayla Relland and those Hawaiian students during a meeting of the two that was months in the making.

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“It was just very emotional, and it was very sweet,” Relland said.

Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims.
Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims.

Relland is the taller girl in the pictures in this story. She’s 18 years old, and is a part of DECA. That’s a group that prepares kids for careers and college. The students around her are part of the Lahaina Luna chapter of that same group in Hawaii.

“They’re like the sweetest ever,” Relland said.

This all started last fall when wildfires ravaged the state of Hawaii. Yvonna Kony is one of Relland’s fellow students and she was born in Hawaii before moving to Oklahoma at age 7. Kony’s aunt was still in Hawaii at the time.

“We were all really affected by what happened down there,” Kony said.

So, both Kony and Relland decided to reach out to that chapter.

“I didn’t expect it to do something like this, but I’m very thankful,” Kony said.

The students told them they needed fundraising. A lot of them lost everything in the fires and were staying in hotels with no money. So, Relland and Kony sold these T-shirts and raised about $1,500. They also sent some care packages that included friendship bracelets, letters and more.

“We had consistent Zoom meetings and emails with them like a lot for like the past six months,” Relland said.

They taught them how to compete in DECA, make agenda’s and host meetings. They also helped them with some projects. That eventually brought them to Anaheim, California and DECA Nationals where Relland was competing. Thanks in part to the fundraiser, the students from Hawaii were there to.

  • Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims.
    Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims. Image courtesy Natalie Jordan.
  • Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims.
    Francis Tuttle students help Hawaii fire victims. Image courtesy Natalie Jordan.

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“They had like sweatshirts and candies and like cookies and all the stuff,” Relland said. “Whenever I went on stage, they’re all cheering super loud.”

Relland said they got to take part in workshops and classes to learn more about DECA and how to take part. It was a meeting neither side will ever forget.

“It was just awesome,” Relland said.

Relland placed second at nationals for a “ForGreenerEarth” initiative project that she did. She said she plans to keep in touch with the students from Hawaii in another project that will help them clean up following the wildfires.

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