Highlighting Local Students who are Giving Back

Highlighting Local Students who are Giving Back
Posted at 8:51 AM, Nov 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-25 05:03:55-05

MIDWAY, FL - The season of giving has arrived.

Our special guests on Sunrise for Thanksgiving are Former Mayor of Tallahassee John Marks and WTXL Contributer and Family Therapist Jane Marks.

Both showcase some of the good work local students are doing to give back to our community.

We are going to start with Sail High School. We had a chance to talk with Tiffany Williams, the principal, she is so proud of her students there. The day we talked she talked about a road side cleanup for the streets nearby. There are multiple clubs that address breast cancer, raising money and awareness for breast cancer issues. The have a continuing effort where the serve the animal shelters. There is a blanket drive for the Hope Community on a yearly basis. This year they have partnered with Second Harvest to support their backpack program. More importantly, they have focused on supporting internal families as well as far as helping them prepare for this Thanksgiving morning.

John Paul II partners with this community in so many ways. They have several outreach programs. They have a long history of working with the Christmas Connection on a regular basis. The have fund raisers to raise money for ongoing projects that they have in their partnership with the Kearny Center. Several times a month they go to the shelter and prepare and serve major meals, but in addition to that, on a regular basis, they are raising money so that they can buy fresh vegetables and fruits to take to this center in regard to complete nutrition. Canned goods is also a continuing effort at JPII as well as developing throughout the year Easter Baskets and things for migrant workers over in the Havana area.

Rickards High School, with a great deal of pride Rickards responded to us this morning and said they want to make sure we talk about their continuing partnership with Goodwill. Thus far this year they have sent over 200 bags of clothing, they are also participating in the dance marathon, raising well over $3,000 this year, an effort in which they are really, really thrilled about. They have set up their own internal food pantry with 300 bags of food that is largely driven through the Green Dot program. Now the Green Dot program is also a new initiative for them where they train students to work with situations where they observe abuse, see abuse and so they can do something about it and help make a plan for situations as they come up. They are real proud of what they see as a lot of innovations at Rickards school.

Leon High School certainly has a long record for service and community partnerships. Certainly one of the biggest partnerships they have has to do with the money that has been raised over the last six years for cancer projects in combination ith Tallahassee Memorial. Certainly now this school has now clocked in at close to $200,000 which is quite an accomplishment over the last six years. Leon leads the fight against cancer and they continue to seek new ways to boost contributions while participating in activities, each year coming up with creative ways in raising money to do so, as are the other schools, but I think Leon certainly has a long track record. This is certainly a school which has pride and spirit as well as delivering. They have done the dance marathon this year where they raised money for the Children's Miracle Network, and this is a newer project and they are certainly proud of this. One of the most fascinating things came from a student at Leon who has tremendous pride in her school but she talked about the Lions United Club and this is an extraordinary effort where they not only teach an awareness of the developmentally disabled and the complications of having to navigate this route but they also teach that you partner with this group, you are certainly part of the Special Olympics, you teach skill building and you become mentors for students who are more challenged than you are. I think in this effort they have done a tremendous job. Unbelievable Leon, the cancer fund raiser, this year alone was over $25,000, the marathon over $13,000. Leon Ladies of Distinction sponsoring families for Thanksgiving. They continue to support Boys Town in a lighting ceremony. The Fashion and Design Club carried out a clothing drive for Big Brothers Big Sisters. SGA organized a blood drive. Relay for Life hosted at Leon High School.

Maclay High School has done some phenomenal things when it comes to fund raising and partnering with this community. Let's start with Maclay having raised money for the TMH Foundation, the Cancer Foundation. They have also raised money and brought attention to the efforts of the Children's Home Society, last year raising close to $26,000, done so by small efforts and big efforts. Each designed to bring attention o the needs of these children. They have done a dance marathon, they have had students that choose a local charity and they call it, will do a drive, for example, they have bags to go to a food pantry, they have service projects going on all year round and I think what is important is that they also have one huge supportive effort for Capital City Youth Services and where they are raising awareness as well as funds for the homeless youths, raising money to help not just only the youths and their family but certainly pregnant teens as well. This is certainly a very dedicated focus when there is consistency and when you talk with the people that are involved with this you can hear the passion and the spirit that goes along with this.

Chiles High School is always happy to share so many of their accomplishments.

One of the places we are going to start is the book club kids are doing a book drive to give to kids in the elementary schools in the Big Bend area, books for the holiday season. Last year they reached over 3,000 books and they are hoping for a similar turn out this year. These students every year, amazingly, always follow through with a wonderful blood drive, very conscience of their participation in donating blood throughout the year and always had several hundred people involved in this effort. The Timberwolves are very intimately involved in the Special Olympics Fall Classic. The support from Chile's families and friends is always very tremendous. Chiles is very proud of this. SGA at Chiles is very busy. They helped Maclay raise over $4000 for United Way, volunteered at the Epilepsy Association, the Big Bend's Light in the Night, and have just like all of these schools done so much to enhance those students and families who are struggling in some fashion.

Lincoln High School sponsored an Honor Flight for Veterans, along with Swift Creek.

This was unusual in that here we have a high school combing with a middle school to support the Veterans in this community. Lincoln held anti-bullying campaigns associated with No Texting and Driving with FSU's Men's Basketball Team. Caberet for a Cause for the Backpack project. Peer Tutoring at Lincoln. They will do Turkey Trot stations this morning to benefit the Refuge House. This is one wonderful thing that Lincoln has done, they host a winter party for a deaf class at W.T. Moore. Trick or Treat for Unicef to benefit the Illiminate Foundation. Donate books to the Oasis Center for Women and Girls. Held Random Acts of Kindness campaign, participated in Miracle League Baseball Camps. Participants in many elementary color guards and festivals. The horticulture and agriculture classes donate half their profit from plant sales to the Kearney Homeless Shelter. What can we say about our high schools that continue to do so much for our community?

Godby High School has a history of doing some phenomenal things for this community.

We are going to start with their football team, they participated in a full summer meal packing event having packed over 20,000 meals and that says a lot. Students participated in Costumes for a Cause, a school wide event, to raise money for United Way. They hosted one voter registration campaign. The engineering students worked with FSU to help with Our Code event. They are constantly mentoring students at Rudiger Elementary. Students participated in "Students Helping Students Goodwill Campaign" and also they partnered with the Tallahassee Democrat raising money for the Joanna Francis Living Well Foundation. It speaks volumes for this school.

Wakulla High School also did a wonderful job of collecting canned goods for a food drive and Operation Santa for kids that are in need.

Florida High School, we talked with an instructor who is excited about her kids doing a gently used clothing drive for families at risk.

There is a food drive for Second Harvest and for Halloween this year a lot of their students who instead of collecting candy collected money for the United Nations and for the World Food Organization which I think is phenomenal. Several times a month they go to the shelter and prepare and serve major meals but in addition to that they are raising money so that they can buy fresh vegetables and fruits to take to this center with regards to nutrition.

FAMU have donated to charities.They include the food collection drive for donation to Second Harvest, a partnership which many of the schools have. The WTXL Turkey Drive, the ROTC, you know we get real excited because that is part of our network here. United Way, feeding the homeless also an effort by the ROTC club which they feel just tremendous pride in. A really wonderful project.

This year we are also going to feature some of the accomplishments of our middle schools which also express the wonderful gifts of our younger teens.

Maclay Middle School worked with the homeless and has done a special initiative working with the Guardian Ad Litem Program. They have been very, very supportive of the children under the umbrella of the Guardian Ad Litem and have really taken a close look at their needs. Whether they are personal hygiene needs or clothing, the middle school students have honed in on this as a very major project. We're certainly proud of them for this.

Nims Middle School, the SGA and a number of the students have worked hard to collect canned goods for a food drive, they are incubating a brand new program where they take students who are academically challenged but train them as far as leading new projects. They are teaching them basic skills, to get out there in ways that they never dreamed.

Deerlake Middle School were involved in a Second Harvest Food Drive.

They did costumes for cancer. They sold sodas and raised several thousand for Relay for Life. Relay for Life is their signature cause.

Cobb Middle School did a pink lemonade stand for breast cancer. They are doing a project called Hearts for Haiti. This is a project where students buy a heart and it goes on a big board and proceeds go for victims of the last hurricane in Haiti. A really wonderful project. Cobb was represented in October by joining in the Joanna Francis Pink Lemonade effort and they were able to raise funds for this very wonderful cancer project. Typically there are canned food drives at Cobb where there is built in competition among the classes to see who can secure the most canned goods. This school also celebrates cancer research by doing a "Pink Out" celebration once a year. A very unique project was where they were able to sell duck tape at the pink out event and they subsequently duck taped the SGA president.

Again, the partnerships in this community are phenomenal.

Montford Middle School is having a hat day to raise money for diabetes.

One young girl who just loves her school talks about new campaigns that she wants to address for TLC. They have also raised canned goods for Second Harvest and they encourage it by having a competition and the class that raises the most gets an ice cream party. So the school is getting involved as well as the students.

We had a chance to talk with Ms. Marsh, the principal at Augusta Raa Middle School. One of their unique projects is raising money for neonatal tetanus shots in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Tallahassee. In addition, just this week they held their Grand Friends day breakfast where they invite grandparents and friends of family to share with them performing arts experiences for families that travel from out of town. Another unique project they have is that several of the clubs make dog toys for the shelter. Each group equally excited about their gift back to the community.