2017-12-06 / Front Page

Students brighten holidays for needy

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Left to right: Sandusky students Ryan Campbell, Joshua Robinson, Courtnie Rayl, and Carmen Kincaid pose in front of the Giving Tree. Students and staff have selected tags from the tree to purchase gifts for children. The items they are holding are from the Giving Closet in the high school, and the tote is full of hats, gloves, scarves. 
Photo by Erin Carlson Left to right: Sandusky students Ryan Campbell, Joshua Robinson, Courtnie Rayl, and Carmen Kincaid pose in front of the Giving Tree. Students and staff have selected tags from the tree to purchase gifts for children. The items they are holding are from the Giving Closet in the high school, and the tote is full of hats, gloves, scarves. Photo by Erin Carlson Students in Sanilac County schools are always working on projects to help others.

The holiday season is no exception.

Students are raising money and holding collection drives for individuals and families in need of help during this season of giving.

“Once again the generosity of the individuals in Sanilac County is outstanding – ‘especially kids’ willing to help those in need,” said Misty Wojnarowicz, community resource coordinator for the Department of Human Services in Sanilac and St. Clair counties.

“We have several National Honor Society students from local High Schools who are adopting families or foster children this Christmas.”

The News contacted the seven school districts in the county for information on holiday projects for those in need. Six of the districts responded.

Brown City

“Brown City Student Council and National Honor Society are once again holding their annual change drive to assist needy families in the Brown City area,” said student council advisor Amy Ford. “The change drive will occur (this) week during 5th hour classes, with the winning high school and junior classes getting pizza or ice cream parties.

“Currently we have 13 families we will be assisting. On Tuesday, Dec 12, our Student Council and National Honor Society officers will accompany (their respective sponsors) to Lapeer to shop for the families.

“Last year we raised over $3500 and helped over 70 children. The 5th and 6th grade added $600 to our total so we raised just over $4100 in 5 days. The community does an amazing job supporting this cause every year,” said Ford.

Elementary students are also doing their part.

“Brown City Elementary School has adopted families in the communities with the help of elementary staff, high school student council, local business, churches, and other local families,” said Principal Sean Hagey.

”Our counselor sent a letter home to families in need asking for ideas for gifts for their family. This includes toys, clothing sizes, and books. We are currently helping 32 families in the Brown City School District.”


The National Honor Society at Carsonville-Port Sanilac High School is involved in several holiday projects, according to Anna Lopez, NHS advisor.

“Students collected coats, hats and gloves that will be donated to Project Blessing… Volunteer at Project Blessing to distribute food baskets in November. Volunteer to gift wrap for Port Sanilac Holiday Wish Program. Volunteer to gift wrap for Shop with a Hero.”

NHS members also adopted a family for the Holiday Wish Program and “use their own money to purchase gifts,” said Lopez.

“Carsonville-Port Sanilac NHS is a small group of only 11 students. We have six seniors and five juniors,” said Lopez.

“Though, our group is small, they are committed to doing big things for their school, community and surrounding communities.”

The staff at CPS High School is also donating money for the Project Blessing Christmas Wish Program.

At the elementary school, there have been coat and food drives, and “the staff is does a Christmas Wish gift collection right now and the donations go to our local Project Blessing for needy families in the area,” said Principal Jennifer Richmond.


“Our building, community, and organizations have been working extremely hard this year,” teachers Marlo Jolley and Rebecca Iseler told the News.

“As always, our community, staff, and students are beyond generous. This year, the Making Visions a Reality Class and Student Council have raised thousands of dollars through grants, church donations, the annual 5K Turkey Trot, and our Turkey Drive to provide a Thanksgiving dinner to over one hundred families in our community.

”In addition, the Student Council has adopted a family that has fallen on hard times, providing a Christmas they otherwise may not have. SADD organized and ran Operation Christmas Child, collecting new toys for families. National Honor Society is currently working with Goodfellows for our annual food drive.

“Another project that is currently running is called Lend a Helping Hand, our Visions class is selling paper mittens for a dollar, and all proceeds will go to buying hats and mittens for our elementary schools.”

At Fostick Elementary in Croswell, Principal Colette Moody reports “We are currently collecting canned and boxed goods to help provide families with food for the holidays.”

And at Meyer Elementary in Lexington, Principal Donna Barrier says, “We are participating in the Goodfellas food drive for the Christmas holidays. Students are bringing in canned and boxed goods for the Goodfellas to pick up this month. We have a great start on it - lots of items are coming in!”


The high school National Honor Society has adopted a family of six for the holidays, said NHS advisor Jodie Kandler.

The NHS will purchase clothes, boots and shoes requested by the family, as well as food and hygiene products.

Meanwhile, at the elementary school they’re helping their own students this with a food drive.

“The Deckerville Elementary Student Council believes we can all be like Santa and help the hungry, by stuffing some backpacks with food for winter break,” the student council stated in a recent flyer.

The council is seeking donations of non-perishable food items such as cereal, macaroni and cheese, granola bars and canned foods “that will fill a tummy.” The items will be placed in boxes in the elementary school hallways through Dec. 15, and donated to students in need for the holidays.


“Marlette Junior-Senior High School is hosting a ‘Holiday Wish List’ for our students,” said Principal Garnett Kohler.

“We have had several individuals, groups, and organizations in the community who have offered to help fulfill holiday wishes for our students and their families.

“In order to select worthy recipients, our building is requesting that students complete a quick ‘Wish List’ survey explaining their holiday wish and how that wish would impact them and their family during the season of giving. All wishes will be considered by a committee, and as many as possible will be granted through our generous community support.”

At the elementary school, Principal Jason Vislosky reports, “We have a Giving Tree that we put up annually in our lobby to collect toys for the Marlette Toys for Tots. There are tags with gender and age that we ask everyone to attach to an unwrapped toy and put in our collection box by the office.”


The high school National Honor Society has adopted a total of 15 children for the holidays, seven through the Michigan Department of Human Services, and eight from the elementary school who do not get help from other organizations, said NHS advisor Erin Carlson.

A Giving Tree is located in the high school office for the NHS project. Students and staff can adopt a child and the requested gifts listed on the tree.

Another NHS project, the year-round Giving Closet, is taking requests from students for special items needed for the holidays.

“For the high school students, they have all been emailed a request form for food, presents, coats, gloves, hats, hygiene products, holiday dinners, etc.,” said Carlson. “We are fully stocked with all of these things and ready to help any student that has a need.”

Carlson added, "The NHS has funds and supplies to help any student in the Junior- Senior High School that has a need this holiday season or any time during the year. If you or anyone you know need anything, please contact me at the school."

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