Students at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School joined together for the Thanksgiving holiday on a mission to provide for the school community. “We wanted to help those who can’t celebrate with their families. It makes us feel good knowing we are helping,” said eighth grader Tayloni Ricks. Ricks, along with nearly 60 other students, is part of the Stoddert student government association (SGA). Over the past few weeks, the SGA sponsored a schoolwide food drive with the goal of helping families in need.
Students and staff held a contest to see which homeroom class brought in the most donations. Items received included Thanksgiving staples such as green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, and other items families could use for meals. Charmaine Behari, a special education teacher at Stoddert and SGA sponsor, said enough items were donated for the SGA to put together food baskets for 20 families.
“Our staff, including our counselor, will help to identify families in need. Our instructional leadership team will help to deliver the baskets to our families,” Behari said.
Although the Stoddert school community has held food drives in past years, this year’s event was coordinated for the first time by the SGA. “We want people to know that we care; our school and community care about others,” said eighth grader Mahi Shah, also a member of the Stoddert SGA.
Donations were still coming in today, so the winning homeroom class will be announced later. Those students will receive a pizza party in recognition of their efforts, Behari said.
Ricks said she joined the SGA at Stoddert because of the opportunities to learn about leadership and community service. Her classmate Jasmin Sorrell agrees and said she enjoys being on the SGA so she can help others. “It is always good to give back to those in need,” Sorrell added.
This morning, Ricks and a few other SGA members helped sort the items into groupings so the assembly of baskets could go quickly. The goal is to deliver the baskets on Wednesday, said Brooke Trivett, a physical education teacher at Stoddert who helped with the food drive. Students in the Life Skills program at Stoddert also brought in donations and provided three baskets.
Plans are in the works for the Stoddert SGA to hold an additional community drive next month. This time, the students plan to ask for cold weather items such as hats, gloves and scarves. “It is good to get involved. It is exciting,” said eighth grader Jasmine Sciarillo.
Stoddert Language Arts teacher Jonica Gaskill and Rita Rosenthal, a special education teacher, helped to coordinate the event for the SGA.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.