Homestead student raises funds for bus driver

A local elementary school student traveled to Charleston last Monday with a dual purpose – she wanted to learn more about how the government works, and she also wanted to speak to the governor about an issue that is praying upon her mind.

Caitlyn Rennix, a second-grade student at Homestead Elementary, was the guest of Delegate Denise Campbell, D-Randolph, at the Capitol, where she learned about the day-to-day workings of the West Virginia Legislature. Campbell introduced Caitlyn on the House floor, and told members of the House about her project to help her bus driver.

Caitlyn found out around Halloween that her bus driver, John Jones, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She immediately began painting pictures, which she sold during a craft show at her school Dec. 8. She raised more than $2,300, which she donated to the Randolph County Cancer Support Group.

“Caitlyn was with me on Monday and sat with me on the House floor,” Campbell said. “I introduced her to everyone and let them know about how she helped her bus driver.

“She made sure she got to talk with the governor and gave him a poster signed by all of the students at Homestead School. She wants everyone to know about the plight of her school, which is in danger of being closed.”

In December, Caitlyn said her next goal was to speak with the governor and let him know how good Homestead School is, and how talented the students are. She said she hopes when he realizes this, Homestead School will not have to be closed.

“Caitlyn is someone who wants to help others,” Campbell said. “She is so special, and when she gets an issue in her head, she is not inhibited with her age.”

Following her time with Campbell, Caitlyn spoke with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and let him know she wants him to help save her school. She presented Tomblin with a stuffed polar bear, her school’s mascot, and a poster signed by school students.

“It was fun to meet the governor and Mrs. Campbell,” Caitlyn said. “I learned so much about the government. I really hope the governor can help fix the plumbing, heating and air conditioning in Homestead School.

“I do not want my school to be closed.”

Caitlyn’s parents, Burl and Laurie Rennix, said they are so proud of her.

“We know she will make a difference in this world.”