Across the Kennett Consolidated School District, students and faculty participated in holiday service projects.
This year, Kennett High School’s Humanitarian Club participated in many different fundraising activities, such as the annual food drive, collecting donations during lunchtime, and sponsoring a Fall Fest, which included a bonfire, food, activities, and entertainment. Overall, the Humanitarian Club collected more than 3,000 pounds of food and donated more than $500 to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
“This year we saw an amazing effort by our leaders, Molly Adelman and Jackie Tucker, and are so grateful for the work they do to support our students, our school, and our community,” said Ms. Lisa Teixeira, advisor for the Humanitarian Club.
Kennett High School also continued a tradition organized by social studies teacher Mr. Shawn Duffy: the Holiday Turkey Drive, which provides turkeys to families in need.
Holiday spirit filled the halls of Kennett Middle School as students and faculty participated in holiday service projects benefiting Adopt-A-Family, which helps people in need receive presents during the holidays. The eighth grade class combined fun, fitness, and service by hosting a student-teacher volleyball game to benefit the Adopt-A-Family program on December 2. Students donated $3 to attend the volleyball game, and $1 raffle tickets offered them a chance to win a spot on the student team. Students and faculty were not only serving volleyballs, they were also serving their community.
The eighth grade students also participated in their third annual Teacher Turkey-Costume Competition. Donation cups were displayed, each with a teacher’s name on it, and students placed a donation in the cup representing their teacher of choice. The teacher who secured the most donations had to wear an extravagant turkey costume during lunchtime, and the three runners-up had to dance the “Gobble Wobble” for the students. Of the $184 collected, $112 was donated in Mr. Andrew Malkasian’s name. The eighth grade history teacher donned the infamous costume while runners-up Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Uster, and Mrs. Brady danced next to him!
Kennett Middle School seventh grade students and teachers participated in a friendly game-show-inspired competition called “Are You Smarter Than a Seventh Grade Teacher?” to raise money for Adopt-A-Family. Students donated $3 to attend the event, where both student and teacher participants were quizzed on topics ranging from pop culture to Kennett Middle School trivia. Chances to play could be obtained by purchasing raffle tickets. Approximately 30 students participated as contestants, and “Are You Smarter Than a Seventh Grade Teacher?” was a success yet again.
Meanwhile, the sixth grade students held their annual Glow Dance, which has become an exciting tradition. Students donated $3 to attend, and special items such as glow bracelets, necklaces, and glow eyeglasses were available for purchase, along with refreshments.
Together, Kennett Middle School students and faculty collected more than $1,500 to benefit the school’s Adopt-A-Family program, in addition to collecting donations for Toys for Tots in the main office. This year, 15 families were “adopted” by Kennett Middle School. Most are Kennett Middle School families and are chosen by principals and counselors based on need. “In order to give the families the option to shop for themselves, the money raised is used to buy gift cards. Although the recipients are kept confidential, the fundraisers promote community building for students,” says Ms. Brenna Levi, assistant principal at Kennett Middle School.
Each year, the lobby of New Garden Elementary School is transformed into a winter wonderland of giving. During the holiday season, the lobby becomes the home of the Mitten Tree. This 20-year-old tradition invited students and faculty to add their donations of scarves, hats, gloves, and mittens to the tree throughout the month of December. The generous donations were then distributed to students in need. Who gives and takes from the Mitten Tree varies from year to year and is always kept confidential.
This year, two friends developed a fundraiser called Crazy Holiday Day. Fourth grade students Ellie Cartersoriano and Tess Nicholas developed the idea, and fifth grade students Brandt Berger and Charlie Westphal implemented the project on December 13. Students had the opportunity to make a monetary donation in exchange for the chance to wear fun holiday attire. This student-led fundraiser brought in more than $500 to be donated to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
Bancroft Elementary School hosted its sixth annual pajama drive this December with great success. Students and staff collected pairs of pajamas in all sizes to be donated to local shelters. To close out the drive, Bancroft Elementary School students participated in Pajama Day right before the students left for winter break. At a schoolwide Morning Meeting, students and faculty could sing songs and “cozy up.” Students guessed how many pairs of pajamas had been collected, followed by a big reveal. The pajamas collected were displayed to give the students a tangible way to acknowledge their accomplishment.
School staff at Bancroft Elementary School look forward to seeing the whole school gather on Pajama Day. “The celebration really makes our school feel like a family. The students love knowing that they are helping others in need. It pushes them to reach the goal and they are proud of themselves for doing a good job,” says Mrs. Donna Phillips, who oversees community giving at Bancroft Elementary along with Mrs. Sara Simasek.
This December, students at Greenwood Elementary School collected toys for their Holiday Toy Drive. Each classroom decorated a collection box to fill with new, unwrapped presents. This specific drive supports Toys for Tots through the Kennett Area Community Service (KACS), whose mission is to “serve people in their time of need.” Kennett Consolidated School District does a lot of work with this organization throughout the year.
“The drive is still running, but it is safe to say from my past four years of experience as the co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee that we will have several carloads of donations,” says Ms. Lauren Leighton. “It’s amazing to see everything piled in the school’s lobby as we load it into the trucks. It feels great to know that we are helping families have a happier holiday. This is an opportunity for all of us to learn to appreciate what we have and to give back to those less fortunate.”
Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center hosted a Canned Food Drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. Organized by Mrs. Kelly Hostetler, the school nurse, and Mrs. Jane Henry, administrative assistant to the principal, students were invited to bring in canned goods for those in need. Each year there is a goal of 1,000 items, but most years students donate more than 1,500 items. Faculty teach the importance of giving during the holiday season. To end the fundraiser, the school hosts a Spirit Assembly in conjunction with Pajama Day to announce the total number of cans collected and to recognize the class that made the most donations. This year, Mrs. Marchini’s and Mrs. Van Hoorebeke’s classes tied for that honor, with each bringing in 69 donations.
Additionally, the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center staff lounge houses the annual Giving Tree. This holiday service project allows school staff to support the Adopt-A-Family initiative. Families are interviewed about their needs for clothing sizes, toys, and school supplies. The items are then written on a gingerbread-shaped ornament and hung on a tree. The staff choose ornaments and purchase the requested items until the tree is empty.
Principal April Reynolds says, “The fundraiser is kept completely anonymous and is only for faculty, which ensures that those on the receiving end don’t feel uncomfortable. Mary D. Lang teaches that the holiday season is about giving, not just receiving, and this effort truly changes lives for those who have never had a Christmas.”
The Kennett Consolidated School District would like to thank all of the students, faculty, and families who continue to support the District’s efforts to help the community. These holiday service projects are a true testament to the Kennett Consolidated School District’s mission of fostering ongoing collaboration.