Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
LUCASVILLE — Students and staff at Valley High School in Lucasville spent the weeks before Christmas break collecting donations for needy families in their community.
“The staff has been making it work with what they have,” said High School Principal Lisa Harley. “They continue to provide top-notch instruction, and they recognize that educating children takes a ‘family’ approach.”
The family approach, she said, means that everyone sticks together and helps out one another.
“It started in early December with the staff donating $20 each to wear jeans during the month of December. Many staff members don’t wear jeans that often, but they donated the money anyway because they knew where the money was going.” Harley said.
Nearly $400 was collected from staff and used to purchase food items to fill food baskets for almost 30 Lucasville families. The baskets included a variety of food, including ham, potatoes, bread, macaroni, peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti, sauce, noodles, a few canned vegetables, and more. The food basket would provide several meals for families.
To supplement the food baskets, the student council members also created a building food drive to generate more food for the baskets. Members of the student council who helped create the canned food drive were seniors Nick Johnson, Brandon Zimmer, Molly Crandall, Scott Adkins; juniors Nate Arnett, Zach Shope, Mari Malizio, Matt Bennett; sophomores Benji Justice, Alli Sargent, Noah Phillips, Anna Rayburn; and freshmen Taylor Golden, Adam Friend, Mackenzie Rowe, and Paul Brogdon.
“We have to help each other in tough times,” said Valley senior Matt Rawlins.
Their original goal of 900 cans was achieved in only three days, and their second goal of 1,000 cans was surpassed on day four. Harley then set what she said many believed was an “unattainable goal” of 2,000 cans and students met that goal again. In the end, students collected 2,011 cans for food baskets. With the additional 2,000 items, the students were able to add more than 40 cans and toiletries to each basket, and created an additional 15 food baskets for local needy families.
Students J.J. Hettinger, Matt Rawlins, Brandon Jordan, Jacob Darland, Dakota Baker, Daniel Egbert, Jonah Garrett, Zach Shope, and Nate Arnett helped put together the food baskets.
“We feel great that we could help that many families,” J.J. Hettinger said. “I think that students can make a difference in their own communities.”
Zach Shope said they weren’t sure they could get 2,000 cans, but was motivated when Harley said she would embarrass herself in front of students if they could do it.
“I can’t wait to see that,” Daniel Egbert said.
Principal Harley hasn’t announced yet just how she will embarrass herself in front of the entire high school.
“Principals will do anything for their students,” she said. “I have something really good planned because my students are the best and most caring people. They deserve more than I could ever give them.”
The entire project of the canned food drive was operated and managed by students, from the collection to the deliveries of the baskets to the homes of the needy. The concepts learned from this lesson are not described in the Ohio Content Standards; instead, Harley said, it is all about being a better person, citizen, community member, and friend.
Leftover supplies were donated to the Lucasville United Methodist Church’s Food Pantry, so that additional local residents would be helped.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.