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Forest City Students Mark ‘Australia Day,’ Continue Fundraising

FOREST CITY, Pa. — Students in Susquehanna County are showing their support for the land down under. One of their teachers started a fundraiser for the wi...

FOREST CITY, Pa. -- Students in Susquehanna County are showing their support for the land down under. One of their teachers started a fundraiser for the wildfire victims there earlier this month and the Forest City School District celebrated her success on Monday.

From kindergarteners to high school seniors, students in the Forest City Regional School District showed their support for Australia's national holiday, sporting t-shirts and waving the national flag.

Thousands of miles away, towns have been wiped out, landscapes and wildlife devastated, and bushfires are still burning in some parts of the country.

Rachel Burnis is a substitute teacher at Forest City High School. She and her family lost everything when their Browndale home burned down in 2014. That's why she started a t-shirt fundraiser for the victims of the Australian wildfires.

"I know that that will make a difference. I know from experience that even the smallest things, to see that someone cared, to see that someone is wearing these shirts, I know that will mean everything to them, and it will help them get back to where they need to be," said Burnis.

We first introduced you to Rachel earlier this month when she had just begun selling the t-shirts for the wildfire victims in Australia. Now, more than 600 students in the school district where she teaches are wearing them proudly.

"I think it's amazing. It's mind-blowing, just because so many people care about other people, and I think that's what we really need," said junior Lindsey Evans.

"My grandparents' house burned down in 2011, and I know everything that they got to help was great. I just love helping people out, and I think that it's great that we can do something for somebody so far away," said senior Brian Widzon.

Through her sales in the school district and online, Burnis has raised $7,500 dollars so far.

"It's just absolutely amazing, overwhelming. I never thought we'd get to this extent, this number, and to see all these kids today with these shirts on, it took everything I had not to cry. I could cry right now," Burnis said.

Burnis plans to bring the money to the Australian consulate in New York next week.

You can still purchase T-shirts and sweatshirts on Nepa4Australia.com.