Sugar Beet staff reporter
Students ever feeling hungry or in need for a new outfit now have a great new program put on by Horace Good Middle School. Students were challenged by administrators to come up with service learning projects that would hopefully better the community and spread positivity. The Hawk Pantry and Hawk Closet are the big projects thought up by these middle schoolers and their teachers. The Hawk Pantry is a project started by social studies teachers Anthony Ortiz, Deanna Clark, Pearl Rassette, Autumn Perry and their first-hour mentoring classes. The snacks are free to all students who will go in and grab the energy bars, fruit snacks, wrapped snacks and much more sitting on the shelves. The pantry’s ultimate goal, Ortiz said, is to provide a simple snack to any student who felt it could hold them over until lunch.
“The program benefits students in two ways,” Ortiz said. “The first and most obvious way is providing a snack to a hungry kid. The second and equally-important way is by providing Horace Good Middle School students with an opportunity to help each other. Personally I have gained tremendous confidence in knowing that our students at HGMS, along with the community are all willing to help each other out.” The Hawk Pantry is just over a month into the project and has already gained over $1,000 dollars in donations.
“Understanding that not every student has the opportunity or means to eat breakfast is the core of this project,” Ortiz said. “Our future plans for the Hawk Pantry would be to grow it big enough so that we may be able to help other schools in our district who may have a similar situation.”
The Hawk Closet is a different project focused on making sure all students and families have the supplies and clothes they need. This was started by English teacher Dana Horton and her first-hour mentoring class, which quickly grew to what it is now as high neatly-folded piles of clothes, kitchen and hygiene supplies. This closet is free to all student and their families who might need a winter coat in the low temperatures.
Horton said she has helped over 30 families who have come and taken goods from the closet, but she’s sure they’ve served more as she is not the only teacher who takes students and families to the closet.
“We did a clothing drive here at the school,” Horton said. “Anyone can take from that closet, teachers, students, families. We put it on Facebook and other social media, then donations started rolling in. Clothing like shoes, hats, gloves, coats, all sorts of things have been donated. It’s been a good experience for my first-hour class because they’ve called different Dentists around Garden City and asked for toothbrushes, toothpaste, stuff like that. I think what the students are starting to see is that there are other students who don’t have it as good as them.”
The Hawk Closet’s goal is to be open at least one day after school in December.
“I always say it is Hawks helping Hawks,” Horton said. “We are like our own little town in these walls and if we don’t help each other, who will? I love seeing the students grow, being a little bit braver and having that initiative to want to try things. I hope we still have this for years to come.”
Teachers and students have seen these program have a major impact in the school and community. Issac Biera, an eight grader at HGMS, said he really likes seeing what kind of difference he can make in someone’s life by simply stocking shelves or organizing. Since the closet and pantry started this fall, Horton has noticed how students have been more kind to one another.
“Impact for the students has been great,” Principal of Horace Good, Brad Springston, said. “To the point where they put others before themselves, they are more aware of those in need so their sense of awareness is much greater than it was before. We hope these programs are sustainable and something that happens year after year. We hope it falls into a class taking it over next year so it’s something that continues as part of a routine and goes on for as long as there is a need here at Horace Good. This has
exploded into people outside Horace Good with people in the community, the state and even people outside of the state who saw this as a need and donated their time, service or money to it.”
Individuals interested in helping the pantry or closet can drop off monitory, food or clothing donations to Horace Good at 1412 N. Main St.
Jordan Koerperich is a trade and health academy junior you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.