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Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin
June 14, 2002 Issue

Something to go alongside the band awards

Middle school demonstrates love of neighbor in big way

By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor

The trophy case at St. Thomas More School in Green Bay needed something new, said Keishia King, who recently completed the seventh grade.

"There were a lot of band awards and sports trophies in there, but nothing for community service," she said.

That recently changed. St. Thomas More received the Middle School Group Young Philanthropist Award from the Friends of St. Vincent Hospital, a division of Hospital Sisters of St. Francis Foundation. The honor recognizes the school's charitable work and fund-raising efforts throughout the community. Student groups and individual students from 14 different schools were nominated in 2002.

During the 2001-2002 school year, St. Thomas More, led by the student council, participated in the following charitable projects:

• Collected $400 for the New York City 9-11 FireFighters' Fund.

• Donated $310.60 to the American Red Cross Liberty Fund.

• Collected baby items and $182.58 for the Love Life Program sponsored by St. Joseph Parish, Green Bay.

• Donated canned goods for Paul's Pantry World Food Day and attended the World Food Day Prayer service in October.

• Sixth, seventh and eighth graders each performed two hours of service per quarter, not required by the school, at Paul's Pantry.

• Collected 210 books for the Give-a-Kid-a-Book campaign.

• Collected can tabs for funding unpaid medical expenses through the Ronald McDonald House.

• Sponsored two Salvation Army families for Christmas. Collected approximately $400 per family for gifts and food.

• Donated $188 to India through the Global Awareness Day Video Program, Hands Across the Globe.

• Raised $612.80 for the Northeast Wisconsin Cerebral Palsy Telethon from a raffle and gamethon.

• Bought two cows from Heifer Project International from a Lenten collection of $1,000.

• Donated $325 from Lenten collections to the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse for shipping medicine, food and supplies to missions throughout the world.

"We try to help as many people as possible," said Caryle King, who served as student council vice president. "We try to help new people and do some of the same things every year. Our school is not that big, but we make ourselves bigger than what we are when we help other people."

Community service, especially regular trips to Paul's Pantry, provide learning experiences for the students, said Ben Besaw, who will be entering the seventh grade.

"It's fun to help and to get out of school," he said. "You learn how you should be happy for what you have because other people may not have as much as you do. It's not just about the award. It's important to do things for the community."

"We do a lot of good stuff and I always look forward to it," said Thomas Jensen, who served as a fifth grade student council representative. "The student council was there to receive the award, but it is for the whole school."

Eighth grade teacher Mary Hemminger, who serves as student council advisor at St. Thomas More, helps to coordinate the charitable efforts. She accompanied the student council members to a reception at St. Vincent Hospital where they learned they had won the award.

"We are so appreciative," she said. "When you hear everything the other kids and schools have done, you realize that we had tremendous competition. It is a great honor."

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