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‘Nothing little about (her) heart'

POSTED: March 23, 2009 4:53 p.m.
Photo by Sandi Van Orden/

Randy Shearouse recognizes Stacie Ortiz for going above and beyond to help Morgan Seckinger.

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The Effingham County Board of Education honored Ebenezer Elementary School fifth-grader Morgan Seckinger at its meeting Thursday night.

“Morgan received a lot of recognition lately,” Superintendent Randy Shearouse said.

Shearouse said Seckinger is a “perfect example that good things do come in small packages.”

Seckinger’s father Paul was one of the workers badly hurt in the February 2008 explosion of the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth.

“When Morgan’s father was seriously injured in the Dixie Crystals explosion a little over a year ago and had to spend several months in the hospital in Augusta, Morgan wanted to do something to help her dad and the other victims,” Shearouse said.

With help from her teacher, Stacie Ortiz, Seckinger contacted a company that makes charms for Crocs shoes and told them about her father and the other victims of the explosion. The company donated 1,000 charms with the Dixie Crystals Sugar logo to be sold as a fundraiser.

Shearouse said the first 1,000 charms sold in one day.

“After almost a year of selling the charms, Morgan has raised $9,800 and recently presented four families with a check for $2,450.25 each,” Shearouse said.

He said Seckinger could have chosen to react in a less positive manner than she did.

“The fact that she poured her energy into helping instead of hurting says so much for this young lady,” Shearouse said. “And while she may be little and the charms that she made famous are little, there is nothing little about Morgan Seckinger’s heart.”

Board member Troy Alford expressed his gratitude toward Seckinger.

“It’s students like you and teachers like Stacie that make our school system what it is,” he said. “You have done a fabulous job.”

Shearouse also recognized Ortiz for the help she provided to Seckinger. He said there is no doubt she went above and beyond the call of duty and cared for Seckinger emotionally during the school year.

Morgan’s grandmother, and Paul’s mother, Karen Seckinger, is a teacher in the Effingham County school system.

“According to Morgan’s grandmother, ‘There aren’t many teachers who would have done what Stacie did during that school year. She spent many hours getting the charms approved and getting ready for the public fundraiser. Stacie was truly placed in our lives at this difficult time to help us and to nurture Morgan while we were away,’” Shearouse said.

He said the board was very proud to recognize Ortiz as an outstanding teacher.

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