By Ken McLemore
HOPE – The students at Clinton Primary School had already set a record for holiday canned goods donations at the end of November as other campuses continued to ramp up the holiday cheer prior to the Christmas break on Dec. 17 to put Hope Public Schools over 5,000 items donated for local charities.
Clearly, the CPS PreK-4 total of 4,300 items topped the season’s giving from HPS students, but the point in COVID-19 affected 2021 is that all six campuses provided canned and non-perishable food items to Hope in Action and other local charities.
Yerger Middle School contributed the second-highest total at 756 items, based upon calculated totals Dec. 17.
From the Hope Academy of Public Service “Anything but Green Beans” drive to the Hope High School Marketta Flowers/AFJROTC joint effort, to the Beryl Henry Elementary School Student Leadership Team, to the Creative Action Team School effort, the total donation of food items may hover closer to 5,500 when all of the figures are calculated.
Totals from HAPS collections at the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade and the “Anything but…” project and the BHE effort remain out at the holiday break Dec. 17.
Pizza party announcements are pending for classes with the highest donations, and HHS freshman Lanod Wesmoreland has been awarded the $25 prize for the HHS contest.
The holiday cheer effort from HPS has not been limited to food items. CPS English Second Language teacher Laura Gray got a surprise from her students for the holidays.
“In lieu of me providing a Christmas party in my classroom, my students chose to bring pens, pencils, sticky notes, books and small toys from home to donate to Hope in Action,” Gray said.
The small bags of donated items filled five copier paper boxes.
“I speak to my students about love and compassion throughout the year,” Gray said. “They hear and see things happening in the world and they want to know how they can make the world a better place.”
Gray’s students represent a number of different cultures within the CPS student body.
“They chose to start this Christmas by sacrificing the candy, food, and gifts that I usually purchase for their enjoyment to put a smile on the face of a child that is less fortunate than them,” she said.
Students in Jackie Brady’s EAST classes at HAPS took a different tact, again this year, by collecting towels, washcloths and hand towels to donate to HIA.
“It’s another successful towel drive for our community partner, Hope in Action,” project leader Abimael Lopez reported. “The towel drive lasted two weeks with a total count of 105 towels, 39 washcloths and numerous hand towels. We appreciate the support of all those students and community partners who donated to this very worthy cause.”