Students at every school in the Westonka School District embraced the holiday spirit throughout December by collecting a variety of items for families served by Western Communities Action Network (WeCAN). Additionally, staff members at the schools and the Educational Service Center also participated in WeCAN’s Adopt-A-Family program.

“Thank you to all of the Westonka students, parents and staff who made donations to WeCAN this season,” said WeCAN executive director Christopher Anderson. “We especially appreciate the wonderful assortment of personal care, cleaning supplies, paper products and toys that will support our families for months to come.”

HIGH SCHOOL

While the holidays are an exciting time for many people, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford everyday items, let alone holiday gifts. Led by Student Senate, Mound Westonka High School conducted a successful drive in December, collecting 586 personal care items and cleaning supplies along with $80 in cash.

“This drive means so much to our community and to be able to donate so many products to our neighbors is just outstanding,” said advisor Jamie Harms. “We are so proud of the leadership from Student Senate and our administration, but even more proud of the students and staff at MWHS for all their donations!”

The students competed by class with the incentive being an ice cream treat cart. The sophomore class overtook the competition on the last day with 216 pounds of products and will enjoy their ice cream treats Jan. 7. The eighth-graders were close behind with 186 pounds.

“I am so proud of the MWHS student body for the effort they put into this drive each year,” said Senate executive and drives committee leader Lexi Jolicouer. “I love watching each grade compete for a good cause. This has always been the fundraiser I look forward to each year.”

“The WeCAN/Student Senate Holiday Drive is an incredible event in which our community can show off one of the many characteristics that make us unique – we support each other!” said assistant principal Marty Fischer. “Whenever the call for help has gone out from an organization within our community or school, the response has been amazing. And when our community and our school work together in an effort to support those in need, it is incredible to see the outpouring of support.”

“Together, we can make Westonka a great place!” Fischer added.

GRANDVIEW MIDDLE SCHOOL

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, several Orono Police squad cars left Grandview Middle School Dec. 13 on an important mission. Along with several local police officers and three Grandview students, the vehicles were filled with more than 900 toys, paper products, cleaning supplies and personal care items to be donated for distribution at WeCAN.

Katie Rutledge’s social studies class collected the most items, totaling 218, and earned a pizza lunch. The names of all students who brought in items were put into a drawing to earn a chance to ride along and deliver the gifts to WeCAN. Chosen to participate were seventh-grader Sullivan Rothenberger, sixth-grader Giana Meyer and fifth-grader Reagan Van Blaricon.

Advisor Katie Seehusen thanked everyone who participated in the drive. She offered a special thank you to school resource officer Steve Sturm and other members of the Orono Police Department who helped deliver the gifts.

HILLTOP

The Hilltop Primary School/WeCAN drive was also a huge success. The Hilltop student council collected paper products, personal care products and cleaning supplies daily for a week. WeCAN representatives picked up the donations, totaling 512 items plus a generous cash donation, on Dec. 9.

Student council advisor Melissa Abernethy said the students enjoyed collecting everyday items that are needed in the community.

SHIRLEY HILLS

Students at Shirley Hills Primary School collected a total of 323 great toys for WeCAN’s holiday and birthday shelf. Although they fell a little short of their goal of 400 toys and the incentive of a “game day,” principal Scott Eidness substituted a “game time” to reward the students for their successful efforts.

EARLY LEARNING CENTER

Even the district’s youngest learners took part in the holiday collection drive. Students at the Westonka Early Learning Center collected dozens of toys for youngsters to be used in WeCAN’s Adopt-a-Family program and Holiday Shop.

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