For at least the eight years that teacher Susan Goddard has been the Student Council Association (SCA) co-sponsor along with Katherine Stevens at Terraset Elementary School, the SCA has held a canned food drive for the local food bank, FISH, which uses the bounty to create Thanksgiving baskets for needy families.
Typically the school would band together and collect between 1,700 and 2,200 canned and other nonperishable food items, except cereal and candy. This year, however, the students outdid themselves collecting 3,199 items between Nov. 7-15. Representatives of FISH were scheduled to pick up the several boxes lining the school's hallway on Tuesday, Nov. 19.
"We wanted to beat last year," said sixth-grader Elisa Becker. The students achieved their goal, beating last year's total by 1,000 items.
"Some people said they raided their mom's closets," said SCA's historian and publicist Rowan Moody, a sixth-grader. "One girl told me her mom told her she couldn't bring any more in."
THE FIVE OFFICERS of the SCA, along with "de facto officer" Elisa, organized this year's drive, creating posters and a chart to track the progress and making in-house televised morning announcements, said SCA president, sixth-grader Branden Francis.
Each morning a pair of representatives from each grade would collect the items from their class and bring them to the foyer, where the SCA set up the collection area. The officers would count the cans and record them on the chart, giving proper credit to each class.
"They talked it up," Goddard said of the officers. "They had a very good time, and they worked hard."
While Goddard can't explain why the school did so well this year compared with years past, she did say there was more of a widespread collection effort this time around. In some cases, classes that traditionally did not collect many cans, such as kindergarten, brought in as much as everyone else.
"It was a huge effort, and we have such a diverse population," said principal Ellen Cury. "Each day, kids brought things in. It says something about Terraset and the community we're in."
THE STUDENTS said the positive turnout will not only make Thanksgiving more meaningful for families in need but for themselves as well.
"It felt good to help the families," said fifth-grader Alex Byrd, the SCA treasurer.
"I'm excited," said fifth-grader Jasmine Jones, the SCA vice president. "Yes, [this will make my Thanksgiving more special]."