Options at AHS Open for Student Givers


Emma Janousek

Pictured above is the toy drive poster pinned up in the AHS commons. The Respect Club organized the book and toy drives to spread the giving spirit.

Emma Janousek, Staff Writer

This holiday season, Arlington High School has presented multiple opportunities for students to give to others.  During this time of year, nearly everyone is focused on planning gifts for loved ones, friends, and family, but for those who look to give beyond themselves, AHS had several options. The giving opportunities this year included the food drive, the book drive, the toy drive, and DECA’s Santa’s Helpers.

The food drive, put on by ASB and Leadership, took place earlier this month and was successfully concluded, thanks to the giving spirit of the Arlington High School student body. DECA’s work paid off as well, as many families this season will have food to make the holidays brighter.

ASB Public Relations Officer Riley Oakes (’16) explained, “It’s important [to organize drives for giving] because of course not every student has the same opportunity as the peer next to them so providing these necessities and opportunities for students is a good trait for a school to have.”

And his opinion seems to be shared with many of the students and staff at Arlington High School when the results of the drives are observed.

The book drive that ended last week closed successfully as the Respect Club reported that upwards of 2,239 books were donated, with the winning classes being Grabowski, donating 662 books, and Dailer, donating 446.  The Respect Club is now planning to wrap books in sets ranging from preschool to middle school level.  The sets will be delivered to the four elementary schools in Arlington and sent home with students as a part of the “Meals to Monday” program, in which food is sent home with students for over the weekend.  Their families will receive books for the holidays due to the philanthropic students as AHS.

The Respect Club also organized this week’s toy drive from December 14 through thursday the 17th.  Ms. Strickland, teacher at AHS and adviser of the Respect Club, explained the idea for the project originated in her classes, and the toys were initially going to be given to children in hospitals around the area.  However, although that was a good idea, Strickland stated that they agreed on focusing more on the Arlington community and its families.  As it stands now, the donated toys will go to the elementary school counselors and will be given to underprivileged families for the holidays.

If making a family’s holiday season wasn’t enough incentive to donate, the Respect Club is advertising that with every toy a student donates, that student will receive his or her name placed in the raffle for a Red Robin gift card and two movie tickets; therefore, the more toys a student donates, the more times they will get their name placed in the drawing.  The drive will end Thursday and will conclude AHS’s giving spree for the holidays due to winter break.

“Obviously, it’s important to the community and in the meeting of the necessities of the community,” said Strickland. “The part that is most exciting however is that the drives were all student driven projects.We [The Respect Club] went from November to December embarking on this concept of ‘Random Acts of Kindness,’ which included all student designed, directed, and planned activities.  It’s important for the community, but as, if not more important, for our students to have opportunities to give.”

With such a large amount of school-wide participation, it’s a shame winter break has to cut our students’ giving short.  However, the amount of work the student body accomplished has left a stamp on the Arlington community.