What with my being out of the country, then some medical unpleasantries, followed by the happily calamitous holiday season, then a mix-up in communications, this needs-to-be-told tale has been in limbo. But the world needs to know what great hearts the kids at Goodman Middle School displayed at year’s end.
When I first heard of their selfless efforts on behalf of others, I contacted Goodman’s principal, D. J. Sigurdson, who said, “When I spoke with the kids about that, they suggested we use their ‘Toy, Food and Gift’ drive instead. I took pictures on Thursday. I’ll get something to you.”
Shortly thereafter, Sigurdson provided these great remarks from Goodman youngsters involved in collecting tons of items for those in need.
From the eighth-graders: “A lot of hard work goes into it, but it was really worth it,” said Kaity Dunn. “Seeing all the donations come in and then get loaded into a truck for so many people who need it was an incredible experience. We all worked together as a team.”
Classmate Isabella Sappenfield, “thought it was really fun making posters and putting them up. It was really cool how we filled up most of the truck with donations. A lot of the committee members put it on social media, which resulted in more people bringing in donations.”
“When writing announcements and bringing in donations,” said Kate Everling, “it wasn’t just helping people at our school who didn’t have enough to get through the holiday season. It was helping different food banks and that made a difference to a lot of people. One of the food banks didn’t have anything to give people in need, so we helped to give to the people who needed it. It was a really fun experience, and I hope it continues in the future.”
“It made me feel like I really made a difference,” said Gabbi Duncan. “It made me happy. By spreading the word, we were able to bring in more donations for over 1,000 families. Giving back to these many families in need truly made community service feel very special. It was wonderful to work with the rest of the committee. I hope Goodman will continue the Toy, Food and Gift drive.”
Said Aria Lee, “We all worked really hard to make it happen. Everyone was really good about advertising and helping to bring in donations. It was rewarding to see people come in with a really big truck. They looked so happy when they saw the number of donations and thanked us a lot.”
“We volunteered our time to do something that we knew helped the community,” said Ashlyn Hansen. “We all took part in the ideas that made this drive possible. When the drive was done, I knew how proud we all were to see that we met our goal.”
Every bit as involved, these seventh-graders also helped.
“We worked really hard,” said Kylie Roppolo. “Having the feeling of giving back was amazing. We had a blast getting everything together. It got a little stressful at times, but that’s to be expected. From this experience I’ve learned that it takes time and energy to really give back and finish assignments and really do a big thing for others. It also takes teamwork and leadership to get something done. It’s okay to have fun and to always consider other people’s feelings, their life situation, and to step into their shoes for a few seconds to figure out exactly how you can help and have empathy.”
Hayden Canda said, “The main office was a huge part of it, and I’d like to thank them. We got a lot of donations (stacked) on the stage. Most of the donations were received in the last two days of the drive. There were some flex classes that participated. In my opinion, it was a good drive and it was helpful for a lot of families.”
Julia Rockstrom said this drive was a very significant learning experience. “It’s really taught me how to give back to others. It was hard knowing that many families were still out there that needed supplies, but our drive has given a lot to many families. It gave them presents during the holiday season and gave them light through whatever they’re going through,” she said.
Claire Ryan said, “It was a positive experience and I learned a lot about the balance of giving and receiving. It was a really emotional experience because there were a lot of families needing assistance — but not nearly enough got assistance. It required lots of work and was not easy but was really worth it when we loaded all the gifts into the truck knowing that I actually did something for the better.”
Kaya Darvill said it was fun and she learned a lot about putting together a fundraiser. “It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it. I feel it was worth it because knowing how many families we helped, warmed my heart,” she said.
And mine! Thanks, kids!
Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.