The Jefferson Awards Foundation Students in Action program empowers students to choose their own service projects and engage their schools to create an impact in the community. Teams from several area schools participated in the competition at Subaru of Indiana.
McCutcheon High School earned a gold, while teams from Wainwright Middle School and Wea Ridge Middle School won silver. Wainwright students collected 2,500 items during a food drive to benefit the Clarks Hill Food Pantry. Students at Wea Ridge wrote letters of encouragement and raised money for students impacted by flooding in North Carolina.
In addition, the foundation named Wainwright counselor Jason Learman as the 2018-2019 Advisor of the Year.
McCutcheon hopes to qualify for the next level of competition in Washington DC. Team members include Alex Brophy, Natalie Jefson, Landry Wallar, Abigail Perez, Hannah Wilson and Rebecca Ortiz.
The team organized a canned food drive that generated more than 2,000 items for the YWCA's emergency shelter for women. The team also held a dance marathon to raised money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Backpack Program.
"The food drive went to families that needed something extra during the holidays," explains McCutcheon junior Natalie Jefson.
Teammate Rebecca Ortiz says the project was personally rewarding because she enjoys helping women and children. "It also helped us see when we come together as a group, we can make a greater impact."
Junior Alex Brophy says thee were many challenges along the way in organizing a dance marathon. "Although we didn't raise as much money as we wanted, we were impressed with the generosity of individuals and businesses who donated toward the event," says Alex.
"It's inspiring to see young people who have a great passion to care for others including those in their school, but also in the community," says McCutcheon's sponsor Laila Wilson. "Students receiving the gold banner really shine light on what hard work can accomplish simply by helping and giving to others."