East Middle School students craft cards for Jariah


Some 6th graders at Binghamton’s East Middle School are trying to lift the spirits of a classmate who was severely injured earlier this year on his way to school.

Students in Shelly VanAtta’s class created Christmas cards for 11 year-old Jariah Durgala today.

On October 30th, Durgala was struck when he dashed in front of a vehicle while trying to cross the Brandywine Highway near Frederick Street.

His injuries left him paralyzed from the neck down and he is still hospitalized in Syracuse.

His classmates first sent him cards last month when he first emerged from a coma and became alert.

Maja Placido has known Durgala since they went to Roosevelt Elementary together.

Placido says Durgala is a nice person who liked to make jokes. “Since he’s not here for the holidays, we want to make sure that he can feel like he is here with us. We’re sorry for what happened to him. And we’re making cards hoping that he can make a full recovery.”

Principal Tim Simonds says, “It’s just a very authentic response from the kids. They miss their friend. They want him to get better. At some point, they’d like to see him again. It’s just a very authentic kid response.”

Traveling back and forth to Syracuse has been a financial hardship for his uncle John Durgala who is also his legal guardian.

Staff at the school has donated gas cards and food cards to support him.

You can donate using his Go Fund Me page that his uncle has established to defray his costs.

The school has also set up an account to support Jariah’s medical expenses at the NBT Bank branch on Robinson Street in Jariah’s name.

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