SHS leads the way in community service

Published 8:36 am Saturday, December 12, 2009

Southampton High School has taken a lead in community service over the holiday season. Whether it’s here in our own back yard or across the world, SHS students and staff have been busy at work to fill food banks and to warm the hearts of many.

A popular project within our community is the annual Trooper Hill Toy Drive. This year, the SHS Student Government Association helped with the drive by hosting a “Black & White Ball,” in which all proceeds were donated to purchasing holiday gifts for local children. Melissa Edwards, SGA sponsor, said they chose to support this program because “it’s important to our community. It reaches out to so many people, and we are just fortunate that we can assist in this endeavor.” Proceeds from the dance combined with funds raised by student clubs at Southampton High School raised $3,000 for the local charity.

Representatives of the club who collected the most donations were named Snow King and Snow Queen for the event. This honor went to Chris Vincent and Nicole Reedy. Also, Meagan Tillett was crowned Winter Charity Queen for personally collecting the most donations on behalf of the Science Club.

“I was so glad to see the student body work together to do something fantastic for a charity and our community,” she said. “I definitely love doing all that I can to put smiles on people’s faces, and in this case it was a child’s.”

The SHS student body kicked off the holiday season this year with its annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. This project, coordinated by the Key Club, is a schoolwide food drive during the weeks preceding the Thanksgiving holiday. The collection was structured as a competition between first block classes to collect the most cans and boxes of food. The winning class, Dr. Dinh’s dual-credit biology, was treated to a breakfast party sponsored by the Key Club for their outstanding effort in collecting more than 200 items. As a whole, students and staff came together to collect more than 1,100 nonperishable items for a local food bank.

“I just thought about how people have food in their cupboards and they don’t even eat it,” student Dianna Thompson said. “So what’s the point of having food you won’t eat whenever there are people needing it?”

The SHS Tri-Hi-Y club will also be helping out in our local community this year. Every year, the club goes to Courtland Healthcare Center to visit with residents and sing carols. They also adopted a Courtland family for Thanksgiving, and plan to feed the family again over Christmas. They will even supply the children with gifts and clothing.

Every year, Linda Drake, the Southampton County Public Schools food services manager, directs a spirited service project among all Southampton County schools. This year, the SHS cafeteria staff once again has collected toiletries, food, clothes and toys for children in the family. “We feel that people in our community need it, and we just wish that there was more we could do.,” said Phyllis Turner, the SHS cafeteria manager.

In addition to the food drive, the SHS Key Club is also sponsoring “The Tree of Warmth,” a collection of coats, hats, scarves and gloves for members of our community during December. Each year the Key Club collects over 100 coats to donate to local families. During the Holiday season, members of the Key Club also sponsor a Holiday Bingo at the Village at Woods Edge and a Holiday Luncheon for high school teachers and staff. In addition, Key Club members assisted with the Trooper Hill fundraiser and will help with the Franklin Junior Women’s Club during Breakfast with Santa.

The SHS Culinary Arts class again this year created a gingerbread masterpiece, this time modeled after the Neuschwanstein Castle, a historic castle in Germany. This castle was donated to a charity auction for the Franklin/Southampton Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Some SHS clubs went beyond our community this year. The SHS Christian Club conducted their annual Operation Christmas Child. This project sends school supplies and toys to children to third-world countries. The club worked diligently and stuffed 10 boxes at the end of their week-long drive.

Another group taking their service worldwide is the Senior Achievement class of 2010. They collected toiletries, food and magazines to send to our troops overseas.

This is an annual project for the class, and this year they packed 25 boxes just in time to send to our troops for the holidays. The class is also assisted by the Courtland Post Office staff.

During the holiday season, we must also remind ourselves to stay safe. Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, is raising awareness for important issues in our community. The club will be distributing red ribbons that can be tied to car antennas to remind the community that December is National Drunk Driving Awareness month. All of the proceeds raised from this project will go to the local Wal-Mart Angel Tree.

SHS students and staff clearly know that helping others truly shows the spirit of the season.