By Jonathan Pleasant
The Johnson County Middle School Student Council recently got into the holiday spirit in a big way by raising funds and helping the Mountain City Police Department to make Christmas bright for a few families in need. Utilizing Council sponsored school dances and various other events through the year, the students managed to raise more than $250 to purchase toys and Christmas presents to be donated to the city police department.
Taking a mini-field trip, 27 members of the group traveled last week to the new Dollar General Store on South Shady Street, where each student was given a certain allotment to spend on items they thought would make good Christmas presents. According to teacher sponsor, Ms. Susan Quave, the money was divided evenly among the individual students of the group and they could spend their portion the way they thought best. However, various students could be seen pooling their resources to buy bigger items, making the venture into a sort of live lesson in economics.
It was a fun experience, and an opportunity to help in the community, proudly said Student Council Treasurer, Danielle Shepherd, during a brief break in her shopping spree. In fact, all of the students seemed to have a very good time weighing the pros and cons of one item versus another and generally making selections based on a genuine desire to see some less fortunate child have a better holiday. In the end, two full buggies of gifts for boys and girls of all different ages were rung up by the very cordial Dollar General staff, who had earlier been alerted to the event by Ms. Quave.
From there the students loaded back onto the bus and traveled to City Hall to deliver their cache of presents. City Police Chief Denver Church was on hand to welcome the group and thank them for their efforts. Church explained that the donation could not have come at a better time, as the department was forced to scale back some of their own efforts this season. With no full scale Toys for Tots drive, the main focus this year will be to help out the Positive Thinkers Angel Tree Project as well as to assist several individual families that have been identified.
Church went on to explain that shortfalls and timing issues caused significant setbacks in the departments goals for this season, even though in past years literally hundreds of children received presents at the National Guard Armory in town, with lines out the door lasting three or four hours. Church was very hopeful that things would work out for a record setting season next year, but also readily admitted that the student councils work would have a big impact right now.
Youve done the hard part and now we can finish it, Church said as he spoke to the group in the City Hall chambers. We sure do appreciate the help and next year will be bigger and better. Promising to try and raise even more funds next season, the student council left City Hall with smiles on their faces and an air of accomplishment for a job well done. Yet, this is just one part of what makes the group so special and important in the lives of the students.
Throughout the school year council members regularly come to school early for their morning meetings, work at concession stands during ball games, work on a variety of community projects, and hold regular monthly faculty and staff appreciation days for a particular principal, school board member, teacher or custodian. Considering the time and dedication they volunteer in all of their endeavors, it was no surprise that the caring and community minded seventh and eight graders of the student council took to their new Christmas project with a lot of enthusiasm. At the end of the day it was a wonderful gesture of the true spirit of the season, and hopefully just the beginning of a tradition that will carry on in years to come.
By Jonathan Pleasant