Hometown Hero takes teaching to next level by caring for Howland students

Hometown Heroes

High school can be a difficult time for some kids and when a student’s home life is struggling, it can add even more pressure. One Howland High School teacher is trying to make things a little easier for them.

A Howland High graduate herself, Gina Camelli has noticed a change in the district’s student body.

“I started off by looking at some numbers and the poverty level has increased significantly since I went to school here, from about 6 percent to 40 percent,” she said.

In September of 2017, she started Paw Pantry — a place where students can get whatever they need.

“I have clothing, I have lunch boxes, I have backpacks, all kinds of school supplies, I have nonperishable and perishable food, I do have a refrigerator, I have a washer and dryer, I have a stove,” Gina said.

To keep it as discreet as possible, people can go to the district’s website, choose the school the student goes to and then what they need.

The student can then either come to the pantry to get the supplies or they can be delivered to them at their school.

Superintendent Kevin Spicher said Gina has gone above and beyond normal teacher’s duties to take care of students.

“She took charge and she made sure she did what she could to reach out to those individuals and get what they need for their individual home life and other things that are going on that we may not all know about.”

“I just want our kids to be taken care of, that’s all,” Gina said.

If you want to help Gina out with her Paw Pantry, there are several items they always need.

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