Van Allen student council members learning to pay it forward

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


The fifth-grade student council at Van Allen Elementary School is learning how to pay it forward with their canned food and bottle drive.

The nine members of council came together with their teacher, Tracy Jarrett, to brainstorm a way to raise money for the school and give back to the community. The students are going classroom to classroom collecting cans of food that they will donate to The Fellowship Cup for the holidays. The students are also collecting empty soda cans and bottles they will redeem to raise money to buy a new popcorn machine for the school.

To get on the council, students have to write and give a speech at the beginning of the school year and present it to the fifth-grade class. Jarrett said to prepare for the speech, students watch videos and get ideas. The fifth-grade student council at Van Allen is a way to prepare students to run for student council in middle school.

Beckham Prough, who joined council because he thought it would be fun to try new things, likes the idea of the can drive because it?s easy for students to contribute. Prough thinks taking the donated canned food to The Fellowship Cup will be ?pretty fun.?

?It will feel powerful, and I will feel like I achieved something,? Prough said.

This is the first project the student council took on this year. Beyond conceptualizing the project, the students learn how to stay organized, council member Olivia Snavely said. After collecting the cans, the students have to sort cans in one bag, bottles in another and put the food in boxes.

?I?ve learned that teamwork is fun, and you get to know people better,? Snavely said.

Hali Crane said that getting to raise money for the school is exciting. She decided to run for student council because she wanted to help a school she has been a part of since kindergarten.

Katelynn Barnes also ran for council to help the school. She said that being on council and helping organize the drive has shown her that the school is more helpful than it seems. ?Before I was on student council, all I saw were students learning. And now on student council, I see that we can do good (for the community) too,? she explained.

Jarrett said she thinks a popcorn machine will cost a couple hundred dollars. They need to replace the one they currently have, which Jarrett said sets off fire alarms and they have to use it outside because of the smoke.

To continue raising money after the holidays, the student council will be using their new popcorn machine to sell popcorn to other students on ?Fun Fridays.? They also will hold events such as ?Wacky Wednesdays,? where a theme lets students wear, for example, a hat if they bring a dollar.

The canned food and bottle drive ends on Thursday, Dec. 21.