CMS students collect more than 4,000 pounds during annual drive |

CMS students collect more than 4,000 pounds during annual drive

Classes at Craig Middle School competed against each other to collect cans for this year's food drive. Sharon Skwarek's focus class took first place with 434 pounds, which pushed them off the chart.
Ben McCanna

Craig Middle School students collected 4,044 pounds of food during this year's drive. Students competed against each other for prizes and raised more than twice their original goal.Ben McCanna

Ginger McPherson, an eighth-grade science teacher, said she was impressed by this year's food drive at Craig Middle School.

"It was a shock," she said.

The students collected 4,044 pounds of canned goods and other non-perishible items between late November and mid-December. The food was donated to the Interfaith Food Bank in Craig.

The goal of the food drive was 2,000 pounds.

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McPherson said the success of this year's effort is due to the work of the Leadership Kids, a CMS organization that resembles a student council.

"It was student-driven," she said. "They came up with what they wanted to do at the beginning of the year. They chose to do the food drive."

This year's drive was structured like a contest.

Students received a raffle ticket for every five cans of food they donated to their focus classes. Raffles for small prizes were awarded throughout the drive and grand prizes were awarded at the end of the drive.

"The raffle winners won an MP3 player or a music gift card," McPherson.

The grand prize winners were eighth-graders Amy Acosta, Samatha Ahlmer and Trenton Lee, and seventh-grader Brody Gutierrez.

A prize was also given to the focus class that collected the most food.

Teacher Sharon Skwarek's focus class won top honors with 434 pounds, or roughly 10 percent of the total haul.

However, Skwarek said she wasn't sure what her class won.

"I think we've won either a skating or a bowling trip," she said.

Skwarek said community support was the secret to her students' success.

"We spent a couple of afternoons driving through neighborhoods asking for donations," she said. "People were very generous."

Seventh-grader Ryan Leuck said he spent roughly 30 minutes a day collecting cans and keeping a running tally.

"We would get sheets with teachers' names on them and we would have to go in and count the ounces on the cans," he said. "And then we would determine the poundage, and then we would go and graph it on the scale.

"We did that every day."

Seventh-grader Delaney Baker was among the students who helped.

"We had fun," she said. "As much fun as counting cans can be."

McPheson said transporting the goods required a large vehicle.

"The district has old vans that have the seats removed," she said. "It was full — a 16-passenger van with no seats."

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