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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — The Starkville School District and the community are showing just how much they care for one of their own after that weekend fire on Old West Point Road in Oktibbeha County.

Authorities believe the fire started in the garage area. Starkville High School Art Teacher Andrew Lark is known on the national level as well. More than once he has been named state teacher-of-the-year. But all of that did not keep him and his family from having that horrible experience.”

The people living at that location before it was totally destroyed by fire, are all members of the Starkville Municipal School District Family and there is a huge display of love being shown to homeless art instructor Andrew Lark and his wife Jeanine who also teaches in the district.

“As a school we are working to collect cash for those unforeseen expenses that no one can ever anticipate. Until you’ve gone through a situation like this, you really don’t understand what your needs are,” said Keith Fennell, SHS Principal.

For the 5 family members who for right now can not call the burned out rubble home; food, clothing, and cash are immediate needs.

The Larks ran out of their burning home on that cold Saturday morning. They lost everything….even their shoes and their tooth brushes.

“Its painful in a way that we really don’t think about. Everybody safe and no one was harmed, but it still hurt.” From a building on the Starkville High school campus known as the white house, the man who lost so much, has in the past given a lot,” said Fennell.

“He is extremely generous with all his students, he is very generous with his time,” said Emily Turner, SHS Student.

“He is a great teacher, he has taught me since Freshman year. And he has taught me almost everything I know about drawing and design,” said Alex Ross, SHS Student.

Not only the Starkville High White House, Lark got a chance in 2004 to visit former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura for a white house ceremony. And so now as Lark continues dealing with a major setback in his life, it seems only fitting and proper that there is a show of support as he and his family bounce back from this unexpected loss.

“For him to give us so much and then all his stuff just gone over night is hard. Because we want to do something,” said Stokes.”

“We just ask that the community be as generous to Mr. Lark as he has been to the community,” said Turner.

Almost a dozen churches in Starkville are helping the family, a fund is also set up at Renasant Bank on Main Street in Starkville. If you are interested in assisting Lark and his family call SHSMSD 662-324-4130.

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