Early Wednesday morning, the 21 students in Pam Quilici's Leadership class at Carson Middle School began carrying pre-collected cans from classrooms to a waiting truck outside. Cases of sweet corn, Dinty Moore Turkey Stew, whole beans, canned pears and sweet peas were loaded in the truck or piled nearby on the sidewalk.
The collection was for the annual Friends In Service Helping, or FISH, food drive called Trick or Treat for FISH. The goal is to collect at least 60,000 cans. The food drive is one of two major drives FISH does each year to fill up its food bank.
"This is going pretty good," said 13-year-old Carson Middle School student Annika Chryssos stretching her arms and back during a break. "It's going very fast."
FISH Food manager Jim McMullen stood watching from the curb and wondering if a second truck was needed.
"It looks like an awful lot of cans," he said.
On Thursday, FISH went to the parochial schools and other public schools in Carson City to pick up cans. But at Carson Middle School Wednesday, students had filled the truck with cans by 10 a.m. The truck left for Friends in Service Helping where 18 people waited to unload the cans into the food closet.
In all, 22,235 cans were collected from Carson Middle School. Eighth-grade teacher Hillary Mendeguia's class collected the most with 17,342 cans. She and parents had spent $2,735.05 at the Grocery Outlet the night before. The Outlet even opened a line just for her class and donated $300 worth of additional cans.
Sixth-grade teacher Cheryl Richetta's class came in second place with 1,941 cans collected and eighth-grade teacher Adrienne Reinhardt's class came in third collecting 473 cans. Below four eighth-grade students tell their can-collecting stories.
by Ally Loomis
I am Ally Loomis. I am 13-years-old and go to Carson Middle School. I was excited when my teacher Mrs. Mendeguia told us about the canned food drive because during this time of year many people get laid off and don't have money to feed themselves and their families during the winter season.
I think that this is a great opportunity for kids to compete for first place and also for people to have a good Thanksgiving dinner on their tables.
I would like to say thank you to the Grocery Outlet and my fellow students for helping in any way they could in our 2004 canned food drive.
I have loved helping at this year's canned food drive and I hope to collect for next year as well. It makes me feel great to feel like I made a difference in our community in feeding them this holiday season.
by ANNIKA CHRYSSOS
Some people just call us the leadership class for CMS, and think that our only work is inside the school. Well they don't know how wrong they are.
Every year there is a group of about 20 kids that you see doing little things here and there, when in reality they are doing so much more than you ever expected. Not only for their school but also for their community.
One of those community jobs for our Leadership Class is the Canned Food Drive. The Canned Food Drive is a fund-raiser where people throughout the town donate cans of nonperishable food items to FISH.
These food items then go out to the families who are unable to get food all around the area. What happens when they put this through the schools is that all the teachers for about 3-4 weeks encourage the students to bring in nonperishable food items for the cause.
Then at the end of the time period, all the cans brought in are collected, packed up, stored on to the truck and taken to FISH. What the Leadership Class does for this cause is that we also participate in it and at the end we are ones collecting, packing up and loading the cans on to the truck. Each class has been doing this since 1999 when it started in the school district. Every year since then we have raised amounts of cans going from about 17,000 cans to about 55,000 cans (our highest so far) and also every year we have raised the highest amount out of all the schools. This year our goal is as every year is: The sky is the limit!
By Kristin Holland
My name is Kristin Holland. I am an eighth-grade student from Carson Middle School. My class and I have raised about 8,000 cans for the FISH food drive. This project may have taken a lot of work but it was well worth it.
Over the last four weeks Carson Middle School has been collecting and bringing in canned food. I, myself, have brought in about 500 cans to support FISH. I believe that all the kids here at Carson Middle have done what they could for the food drive.
My English teacher, Mrs. Mendeguia, has been encouraging us to bring in cans for FISH. She has been supporting us in this food drive and has been keeping track of our totals. I still think it is amazing that so many people at our school have worked so hard this year for the food drive.
I believe that our community has been pulling together to help others, especially after the Waterfall fire this summer. I am glad that I got to help our community. This has been a great experience for me and my peers.
BY Alyssa Ketchum
My name is Alyssa Ketchum. I am from Carson Middle School and am in eighth grade. Over the past month, the students at Carson Middle School raised and donated cans to the FISH can food drive.
My family and I have donated over 500 cans. Not everyone at our school raised that many, but they did bring some cans in. My English teacher, Mrs. Mendeguia has asked all her English classes to bring in cans.
In her class there are benefits for bringing in the most cans. She told us that the top five students out of all her classes that brought in the most cans will be able to go out to a fancy dinner with her.