Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety hosts coat drive

Record Observer - - SCHOOL - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME [email protected]­pub.com

STEVENSVILLE — Marisa Teti, a 17-year-old se­nior from Kent Is­land High School, is used to school par­tic­i­pa­tion, and that ini­tia­tive trans­formed a small coat drive into a com­mu­nity suc­cess.

Marisa, along with her school’s 26-mem­ber Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety and their two aca­demic ad­vi­sors, Wil­liam Hazy and Cal­lie Isen­berg, started a sim­ple coat drive they thought would only lead to a box full of coats.

Un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Good Deeds Sub­com­mit­tee, word of the coat drive soon reached par­ents and mem­ber of the com­mu­nity and yielded mul­ti­ple boxes and a to­tal of 277 coats to be handed out Dec. 21 at the food pantry with the re­main­ing coats to be do­nated to Haven Min­istries.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to do a coat drive,” Marisa said. “When I was younger, I would see kids who didn’t have coats dur­ing win­ter, and that’s al­ways been in my heart to reach out to those in the com­mu­nity and in this school.”

A chance visit to an area pump­kin patch was where Marisa found a spa­cious box for the do­na­tions and after some dec­o­rat­ing by her fel­low class­mates, the coat drive was un­der­way the fol­low­ing week.

Ad­ver­tis­ing the pro­ject went be­yond just the school with stu­dents print­ing fliers to be dis­trib­uted to area. After fill­ing the am­ple box an es­ti­mated four times and her per­sonal ve­hi­cle twice, it was clear the call for used coats had res­onated with the pub­lic dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

“I was al­ready a part of this sub­com­mit­tee and my fam­ily’s busi­ness, who would oc­ca­sion­ally do their own coat drive, got in­volved to ex­tend the reach. It feels great to be part of this and I was al­ways work­ing with char­i­ties like the food pantry so its es­pe­cially grat­i­fy­ing,” said Richard Strucko, a 17-year-old ju­nior.

Richard, who hopes to at­tend Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity and study the com­puter science field, echoed the sen­ti­ment of the par­tic­i­pants or­ga­niz­ing and count­ing the coats in say­ing that it does not take very much to get in­volved in mak­ing the com­mu­nity bet­ter.

Dur­ing the sort­ing, coats were grouped by youth and adult in small, medium and large sizes to bet­ter as­sist in their distri­bu­tion.

Theresa Su­rina, a 16-yearold ju­nior, was one of the stu­dents who printed and handed out fliers to mo­torists about the op­por­tu­nity to do­nate coats. Ini­tial trep­i­da­tion gave way to more than will­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic who do­nated.

“At first, I didn’t think peo­ple would want them, then peo­ple were in­ter­ested and asked about the pro­gram. Fam­i­lies then started want­ing to do­nate and so many wanted to help. There were even some who had al­ready do­nated, but were go­ing to go through their house again to drop off more,” Theresa said.

Tea­gan Brandt, a 17-yearold se­nior, pro­duced a video for the school’s news out­let ad­ver­tis­ing the pro­ject. It quickly be­came a fam­ily af­fair with her par­ents and sib­lings want­ing to do­nate and even ap­pear­ing in the video.

“I wasn’t sur­prised by the re­sponse. I like to think the best of peo­ple and that they re­ally do want to help and this is just an op­por­tu­nity for them to do that,” Tea­gan said.

PHOTO BY KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Mem­bers of the Kent Is­land High School Na­tional Honor So­ci­ety gather to sort and count the coats gath­ered.

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