Eighth-grader Justin Denette and teacher Michael Little discuss their plans to raise money for Soldier on.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The School Committee on Thursday heard reports from pupils on fundraising efforts they are involved in to help the community.
Second-graders at Clarksburg School used a school project to lead an effort to help local food pantries and Grade 8 is planning another fundraiser for Soldier On.
Second-graders Mason Stred and Lexxus Rolnick explained how they organized a schoolwide fundraising campaign to help feed the hungry in the community.
"We are here because we wanted to tell you that it's OK no matter how small your hands are you can always help the community and you are never too little to help," Lexxus said.
Teacher Kim Parker said her pupils were discussing what makes a community and drew maps of what they think a community looks like.
"There are big cities and little cities but everyone has restaurants, houses and playgrounds," Mason said.
Parker said the children also drew pictures of healthy food because when they presented their project to the other classes, they wanted to stress healthy food choices.
Parker said the fundraiser was the final aspect of the project and classes were asked to bring in specific coins.
"We asked them to bring in one penny on Monday, a nickel on Tuesday, a dime on Wednesday, a quarter on Thursday and a dollar on Friday," Mason said.
The students also had to count the money and had to use math skills. In total, they raised $431 that will be donated to local food pantries.
"We are doing this to help make the community be more great," Lexxus said.
Principal Tara Barnes thanked them for their kindness.
"I think this is a great example of using the skills that you learned in school and applying them to real things in our community," Barnes said. "I really appreciate this hard work."
The committee also heard from eighth-grader Justin Denette and teacher Michael Little, who want to organize fundraisers to benefit Soldier On, which has a residential facility in Pittsfield.
Little said it was initially difficult to find something the eighth-grade boys would really be interested in but after running into a former student who now works for the organization that helps homeless and at-risk veterans, he thought it would be a good fit.
"They help homeless veterans right in our community and in four other states so it is really local and has a direct impact we can see," Little said. "We aren't sending a check somewhere far away."
Justin said they plan to host a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, an auction and a dinner, and accept clothing donations.
Little added that Soldier On's mission statement also lines up with the Clarksburg "Cougar Character Anchors."
"It does serve the character traits we want to instill because when we talk about serving these veterans we talk about integrity, dignity and hope," Little said. "It goes very well with our … mission statement."
Superintendent Jonathan Lev said he liked the idea and hopes the fundraiser gives Soldier On more exposure.
"I hope that part of what the eighth-grade boys maybe can do is maybe get the word out in the community about your program because many people may not know what you do and what your needs are," Lev said. "Something like this can make people aware of it."
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