Students focus on community this holiday season


Many students, teachers and club advisors embraced this Thanksgiving season as an opportunity to focus on the community. While it is a tradition for many of the high school’s clubs to donate food or time during this time of year, several teachers created authentic learning experiences in the classroom by connecting charitable activities to their curriculum.

Furthermore, one group of students independently organized a holiday concert for the community and donated all money raised to a local charity.

Red Cross Club students, under the guidance of John Eck, organized a blood drive at the high school for their fellow Millionaire Nathan Zwisle. Nearly 100 students and staff members signed up to donate, and 58 pints of blood were successfully collected.

Mrs. Gee and Mrs. Porter’s 10th grade English classes are studying the memoir “Glass Castles,” by Jeanette Walls. The book is “heart breaking” one student from the class reported; yet “the students love it,” Gee explained.

The book follows Walls and her siblings as they grow up in poverty with two very eccentric parents who “move the kids around a lot to hide from bill collectors and the law,” one sophomore explained.

“This book really made me realize how lucky I am. It helped me appreciate the things and the people in my life more,” said sophomore Nick Dasanto.

“I don’t think some of us realize just how serious poverty can be,” another student said during a post-reading discussion.

Gee and Porter asked the students to donate canned goods for local shelters and asked them to consider donating their time as well.

“I think every teenager could benefit from the experience [of volunteering],” Gee said.

In Mrs. Flint’s AP calculus 1 classes, students donated canned food goods for a related rates project; afterwards Flint donated the food to the American Rescue Workers. Students chose several different sized cans from those donated and measured the dimensions of the cans.

We “(will) use calculus to determine the rate at which liquid would leak from various sizes of containers,” Flint explained.

Her students do this project most years around the holidays. “(We) didn’t know exactly what we were going to do with the measurements when we took them,” sophomore Frank Rose explained.

“(We knew) it would entail calculus, of course,” sophomore Eric Ask said of the discovery lesson.

Related rates “make a lot more sense when (applying it to) canned food goods,” other students said.

Several students from the high school organized and performed a benefit concert for the community on Nov. 15. The entire organization was completed by the students from Williamsport and a few students from other schools who also participated.

Sophomore Connor Pardoe assumed leadership of this special concert after the previous director graduated.

“I participated in the concert last year, and took over the organization of it this year. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort,” Pardoe said. “It is for a really good cause.”

The students raised nearly $2,000 from the concert, all of which was donated to the Make A Wish Foundation.