Students, staff and parents in Westfield Public Schools continue the district’s long tradition of helping others both in and outside of the community, with a number of students recently recognized for their efforts.
Fifteen Westfield High School juniors and sophomores were honored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food items for families in need.
“Of the 60 schools who participated in the 'Students Change Hunger'campaign last fall, Westfield donated the most amount of food,” said CFBNJ’s director of school programs and community outreach Michelle Jansen, as she presented a trophy to the students on March 5.
Jansen said the food collected by the WHS students was distributed to approximately 1,000 food banks to feed more than 300 families.
“It takes a village to make a change,” Jansen said. “You are the village.”
“I’m so proud of all of you,” added WHS Principal Derrick Nelson as he stressed the importance of always lending a hand to others.
The “Students Change Hunger” campaign is a statewide food and fund drive that ran from Sept. 18 through Dec. 11, 2017.
At Edison Intermediate School, the “Stone of Hope” Club — named after former French teacher Shannon Stone who created a culture of volunteerism in the school — meets every Wednesday before school to make sandwiches to supplement the “Extra Lunch Wednesday” program. As part of the program, students donate an extra lunch, with all of the sandwiches and lunches delivered by Edison parent volunteers to a homeless shelter in Plainfield.
The “Stone of Hope” Club is sponsored by the Westfield Rotary Club as an “Interact Club,” the Rotary Club’s designation for middle school student volunteers.
“Our club currently has between 15-20 members from grades 6-8,” says social studies teacher John Stasi who runs the club with fellow teacher Michael Kozlowski. “We hope the students take away from this the idea of community service and helping others in need.”
Roosevelt Intermediate School 7th grader Alexandra Cicala recently received the President’s Volunteer Service Award which recognizes middle and high school students across the United States for outstanding volunteer service.
Cicala’s volunteer efforts include proposing and forming the “Kindness Club” as a sixth grader and spearheading a variety of charitable projects including support for the Children’s Specialized Hospital and Hurricane Harvey relief.
“Alexandra is well deserving of the President’s Volunteer Service Award,” said Roosevelt principal Mary Asfendis. “Her enthusiasm and dedication to helping others is exemplary.”
The President’s Volunteer Service Award is granted as part of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program which is sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).
Each of the district’s six elementary schools participate in year-round charitable giving as well, with activities ranging from sandwich-making and coat drives to writing servicemen and women on Veterans Day and donating gifts to those in need during the holidays.