Three Tippecanoe County schools are named "Classroom Superstars" by raising the most pounds of food for Food Finders Food Bank -- Harrison High School, East Tipp Middle School and Wyandotte Elementary School. Representatives from Food Finders, Tate & Lyle and Neuhoff Media presented a check for $1,000 to each school for their outstanding efforts.
Harrison High School student council member Jay Thoennes says the food drive is always a humbling experience. "To see a school of over 2,000 kids come together and raise thousands of pounds of food for struggling families is an incredible learning opportunity on how we can help our community," says Jay. "I'm hopeful to see a large portion of the prize go toward our next fundraiser, Hoops for Hope, where we support people and families in our community who are struggling with illnesses or ailments, and see the remainder of the money go back into supporting student council and finding new ways to help out the school and the community."
At East Tipp Middle School, teacher Tom Rice says students get themselves and each other excited about donating each year. "East Tipp has been the top collecting school in the area for 18 years; it's something that kids just expect themselves to do for their community as families and friends pass that spirit down," says Rice. "The long commitment of giving has come to represent a tradition that's not only fun to fulfill, but also a launching pad for us to do other important projects in and around our school, both individually and collectively."
This is the eighth year in a row that Food Finders has given East Tipp its "Take the Wheel Award." This year students and staff collected 14,491 pounds of food. Rice says the students will want to donate the $1,000 prize money back to Food Finders.
At Wyandotte Elementary, teacher and student council sponsor Holley Vaughn believes the food drive is a wonderful way to get the students to think about community and how to be a part of something bigger. "We do small competitions to help get the kids excited, but overall it opens up great discussions on how to help others and be good citizens," says Vaughn. "Our student council loves organizing it and getting everything ready to encourage their peers to bring in food for our city." Principal Mary Beth Fitzgerald says most of the money will be donated to Food Finders, while some will be used in other ways to help in the community.
The winning schools were determined based on current enrollment divided by pounds of food collected.