Throughout the district, Westerville students and staff have raised thousands of dollars to support more than 600 children in need during the holidays through Westerville Caring and Sharing.
Student organizations at Westerville Central and Westerville South high schools led school-wide fundraisers that raised more than $11,000 each, providing gifts for hundreds of kids. Both schools hosted assemblies on Friday to celebrate their efforts.
Meanwhile, Westerville North High School called on teachers at each advisory period to work with their students on fulfilling children’s wish lists provided by Westerville Caring and Sharing. WNHS students donated gifts for 110 children in need with some advisory periods taking on additional wish lists.
Patti Stewart, community liaison for Westerville Caring and Sharing, said the fundraising efforts hosted by students, teachers and staff across the district play a critical role in serving children in need.
“The schools support us like nobody’s business,” she said. “Without the support of the schools, there would be a lot of children without Christmas gifts.”
At WCHS, Key Club members led the charge, collecting donations during the school’s flytime period. Key Club volunteers tallied the donations and each flytime period received an “adopted” wish list from Westerville Caring and Sharing. Donations were equally redistributed to each wish list and volunteer shoppers from each flytime purchased items from the wish list. All of the gifts were returned to WCHS on Friday and the school hosted a Caring & Sharing celebration that featured performances from the choir, orchestra, and American Sign Language (ASL) classes, as well as a thank you from Stewart.
“All of you have brought so much joy,” Stewart said during WCHS’ assembly. “Thank you so much for what you do for our community.”
The school collected more than $12,102.42 in donations, providing gifts for 102 children, said Central's Key Club advisor Jenny Horn.
As part of WSHS’ Caring and Sharing project, the school’s Student Council planned days for Spirit Week as advisory periods collected donations from students. Students raised more than $11,000 for the project and purchased gifts on the wishlists of 102 kids. To celebrate the project and show all the gifts that were purchased, the school hosted an assembly that featured performances from the Jazz Band, Soundsation and ASL students. Principal Mike Hinze dressed as the Grinch, with head custodian Keith Allinder dressed as an elf and the school’s Canine Companions facility dog, Twinkle, toting an antler to resemble Max.
Students at other schools have also embraced the fundraising project including Annehurst and Whittier elementaries. At Emerson Elementary, Student Council members led the charge, setting a goal of $100 per classroom. They made posters and visited classrooms to raise awareness about the fundraiser. This week, they talked about it during the daily morning announcements, counting money and updating tree thermometers in their classrooms. They raised $2,310.56, which can provide gifts for 23 kids. First-grade students at McVay Elementary raised $4,600, purchasing gifts for 50 children and providing gift cards for 10 teenagers.
Annehurst Elementary staff sponsored 12 kids this year, providing books, toys, outfits, socks, underwear, shoes, a coat and outerwear. The school’s third-grade team hosted a school-wide coin drive, raising more than $875 to purchase 36 grocery gift cards for families.
Several schools have also organized collection drives for other charitable organizations. The Student Council at Alcott Elementary collected about 100 new mittens, gloves, hats and scarves for Neighborhood Bridges. The National Junior Honor Society at Blendon Middle School hosted a canned food drive for Westerville Area Resource Ministry. Students at Wilder Elementary collected 784 pairs of socks for children in need.