A fire on June 2 caused extensive smoke damage to a Grade 1 classroom at Macaulay Elementary School, destroying the teacher’s materials and students’ belongings and school work. An online fundraising campaign has since been set up to help the teacher buy new supplies for the upcoming school year. Contributed photo.

A fire on June 2 caused extensive smoke damage to a Grade 1 classroom at Macaulay Elementary School, destroying the teacher’s materials and students’ belongings and school work. An online fundraising campaign has since been set up to help the teacher buy new supplies for the upcoming school year. Contributed photo.

Community rallies behind teacher after classroom fire

More than $1,190 raised so far to help Grade 1 Macaulay Elementary teacher replace supplies.

The community is rallying behind an Esquimalt teacher and her students after their school work and belongings were destroyed in a fire at Macaulay elementary.

On June 2 around 7 p.m. an electrical fire ripped through teacher Kristen Lundgren’s Grade 1 classroom, causing smoke damage. The students were moved to another classroom, but their belongings and artwork, as well as some of Lundgren’s materials, were destroyed.

“My mother was a kindergarten teacher for years,” said Vic West resident Jeff Somerville, whose seven-year-old daughter, Chloe, is a student in the class. “I saw firsthand just how much personal effort goes into creating a good atmosphere for the kids, making sure they have what they need and how much time and money (Lundgren) put into it. It’s a pretty big loss.”

Somerville recently set up an online fundraising campaign to help Lundgren replace materials for activities, lesson plans, books, decorations and anything else required for the classroom for the next school year. As of Monday, the community has contributed $1,190 to the campaign and rallied behind Lundgren, who taught for 21 years, including the last nine at Macaulay.

The outpouring of support has been overwhelming, said Somerville, with former Macaulay students and people who simply know teachers donating to the cause.

The success of the campaign has also taken Lundgren by surprise.

“I am tremendously grateful for the support of my colleagues (and) the Esquimalt and greater community,” she said in an email. “The financial support of the GoFundMe Campaign will go a long way towards ensuring that next year’s and subsequent classes will be well equipped with toys, books, puzzles and games.”

The campaign runs until the end of the school year (June 29). For more information visit gofundme.com/macaulay-grade-1-class-fire.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com