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This Holiday Season, McKinney ISD Students and Staff are Putting Others Before Self

Shane Mauldin|
Friday, December 22, 2017
  • The North, Boyd and MHS student councils raised money to purchase more than $5,000 worth of turkeys for the annual MacTown Miracles food drive. Their efforts resulted in 650 complete holiday meals for local families in need.
  • Students moved through stations to pack 650 complete holiday meals to help families in need.
  • The North Student Council organized the MacTown Miracles effort for the 12th year in row, but they couldn't have done it without they help of the Boyd and MHS student councils as well as donations from campuses throughout the district.
  • Six-hundred fifty frozen turkeys were delivered to North for MacTown Miracles.
  • It takes a lot of help to move 650 frozen turkeys.
  • MacTown Miracles collected more than 3,900 canned goods.
  • The student councils from North, Boyd and MHS raised money to purchase more than $5,000 worth of turkeys for families in need this holiday season.
  • With the help of athletes and members of all three high school student councils, they packed 650 holiday dinners in about 20 minutes.
  • Students carry holiday dinners to waiting trucks for distribution to families in need.
  • MHS Student Council members helped collect food for and pack 650 holiday dinners for local families.
  • Student Council members from all three high schools helped raise funds and collect canned goods for MacTown Miracles.
  • Students from North, Boyd and MHS carry holiday dinners out to trucks for distribution to 650 families in the McKinney area.

McKinney, Texas – C.S. Lewis defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. If that’s true, then McKinney ISD students and staff across the district have been doing pretty well at putting humility into practice this holiday season, taking time to shift the focus from “self” to the needs of others.

Here’s a sampling of some of the good things they’ve been up to over the past couple of months:

Burks Elementary
Burks Counselor Katie Wallace spearheaded a donation drive to support the Collin County Animal Shelter. She created the “Golden Bone” award to encourage support and recognize the grade level that donated the most items. This year’s winner was first grade who collected 56 items. Altogether, Burks students raised 219 items for the shelter.

Women standing with pile of donations

Sarah Hustwit (left) from the Collin County Animal Shelter and Burks Counselor Katie Wallace with Burks’ donation to CCAS (Courtesy of Burks Elementary)

Cockrill Middle School
The students of Cockrill Middle School collected canned goods to donate to the North Texas Food Bank. They raised 742 pounds—more than a quarter ton of food—which will provide access to 618 meals for chronically hungry North Texas children, families and seniors.

Dowell Middle School
Dowell Middle School hosted a Toys for Tots toy drive as part of their annual campus Holiday Happiness campaign that ran Dec. 4–8. Staff and students collected more than $500 worth of toys to donate to the Collin County Toys for Tots program.

In addition to the Toys for Tots donations, Dowell’s AVID program held a coat drive to benefit the Samaritan Inn. The drive was led by eighth grade AVID students, but all Dowell students had the opportunity to participate. In all, they collected 40 coats which were delivered the week before Thanksgiving.

Eddins Elementary
To enter Eddins’ annual Jingle Bell Jog, students donated new, unwrapped toys which were delivered to Finch Elementary for their “shop-n-share” event that gave parents a chance to pick out a toy for their child. Volunteers from Eddins wrapped the gifts for the parents.

“I love it when communities are helping one another,” said Eddins Principal Sharon Havard. “It was such a blessing to be part of an event that students, parents and teachers could actively be involved with. Getting to wrap and give presents to families in need was the biggest blessing of all!”

Evans Middle School
The Evans Pay it Forward (PiF) Group has been working since October to
pre-wrap gift boxes and write cards for 630 students at Runyan Elementary
in Conroe, Texas, whose families were devastated financially by Hurricane Harvey. Runyan Principal Tracy Voelker reached out to Nature Nate’s Honey for help, and they enlisted the aid of Evans middle school.

It became a true community effort. Nature Nate’s donated a jar of honey for each student at Runyan and awarded a $5000 grant to the Evans PiF to be spent on gifts for Runyan’s students. In addition to the grant money, honey and a toy drive, extra support came from DICK’s Sporting goods in Allen who donated one item for each of the 630 students, and Texas Roadhouse in McKinney donated boxes, wrapping paper and gift bags. Trader Joe’s in McKinney donated water and a continental breakfast for the volunteers who gathered to prepare the gifts for delivery.

As a result of these efforts, all 630 Runyan students received a gift box/bag on Tuesday, December 19.

The Evans PTO has been busy as well organizing a drive to collect gently used shoes to help those in need and keep shoes out of landfills.

Finch Elementary
“Our students are blessed by so many organizations around McKinney—like FBC adopting families for Christmas and Eddins hosting a Shop and Share for our parents—that we feel it is important for our students to also give back,” said Finch Assistant Principal Pam Voss.

To that end, the Finch Student Council sponsored a Stuff the Stocking campaign and each homeroom received a stocking from the student council to fill for the residents at Redbud Assisted Living. The campus reports that the kids brought so many items they were able to provide gifts for the staff as well as the residents. The students delivered the stockings in person on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Glen Oaks Elementary
Each holiday season, the Glen Oaks PTA sponsors an “angel tree” that gives Glen Oaks students and their families an opportunity to donate grocery store gift cards to the families of sister school Burks Elementary to purchase meal items for the holidays. This year, the staff and families of Glen Oaks donated more than $2,000 in gift cards.

Glen Oaks students also filled a bin with holiday food items that the McKinney Boyd High School Student Council delivered to North on Dec. 8 to help complete 650 MacTown Miracles holiday dinners.

Reuben Johnson Elementary
Reuben Johnson Elementary reports that the holiday spirit is alive and well on their campus. RJE’s PTA and Student Council partnered to collect gift cards for Shiloh Place from Dec. 8–15. Shiloh Place, located in McKinney, provides support to single moms and their children who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness by helping them with housing, childcare and tuition for up to two years with the goal of seeing families move into a self-sufficient lifestyle.

The endeavor was fueled by students, who promoted the effort by creating posters, scripting announcements and charting the school’s progress. Principal Michelle Baumann noted a true sense of philanthropy across the school throughout the process. Fourth grade was recognized as the class that collected the most gift cards.

Group of male and female students holding a Shiloh Place sign

Students from Reuben Johnson Elementary donated gift cards to Shiloh Place, a shelter for single mothers and their children who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. (Courtesy of Johnson Elementary)

Scott Johnson Middle School
The Athletics Dept. at Scott Johnson held a Holiday Jar contest between the seventh grade boys and girls athletes and the eighth grade boys and girls athletes to raise money for a family who had recently lost their home to fire. The goal was to raise $500 for the family, but the kids doubled that, raising a total of $1,126.22. The school donated $500 to the family and the other $500 to Communities in Schools for a second family who needed help.

Malvern Elementary
This year, the staff at Malvern expressed a desire for team-building activities that focused on serving others, so they decorated every door at the Samaritan Inn for the holidays. During a November faculty meeting, they created door-sized posters and delivered them on Nov. 10. “Many of us had the chance to interact with the residents there, including children, who were so excited to see the decorations,” said Malvern Principal Rhonda Gilliam.

McClure Elementary
During October and November, McClure Student Council members sold Boo Grams and collected 338 pounds of leftover Halloween candy from their fellow McClure students to send to troops deployed overseas. Anna Dental, in return, wrote a $338 check to McClure’s charity of choice—MISD Special Olympics. The student council’s grand total thus far is $449, and they plan to continue their fundraising efforts throughout the remainder of the school year.

McClure STUCO members have also put in some sweat equity this year, donating time to help with animal shelters, putting together meals for families in the Dominican Republic, making a blanket for the Family Place women and children’s shelter and sorting materials to prepare for the Gingerbread for Humanity Project. “We cannot wait to see what else they will come up with to help their community!” said fourth-grade ELAR teacher Toni Price.

McKinney Boyd High School
The Broncos have been busy collectively as a campus and among their various student organizations and groups. The entire school participated in a Hygiene Drive for Red Cross to prepare basic necessity kits for the homeless and gathered food to contribute to the MacTown Miracles project organized by North. HOSA held a blanket/coat drive. The baseball teams adopted a single mom and her family and provided Christmas for them. The football teams used their Purple Out project to present checks to two families last week in the community who are battling cancer. The PTO donated 20 baskets of food and necessities to families in the Boyd community. The choir and band and the biology and AP environment sciences classes helped stock the Boyd food pantry with canned good, hygiene items and paper products. Finally, the boys and girls golf teams provided Christmas for three families.

Girl holding bag while boy places a frozen turkey in it

Boyd Student Council members helped make MacTown Miracles happen for 650 local families.

McKinney High School
The students and staff of MHS have been spreading Holiday Happiness by bringing donations for a different charity each day. On Monday, Dec. 5, students brought food to support the MacTown Miracles holiday dinner drive at North. On Tuesday, they donated baby items for the Communities in Schools Teen Parenting Group. Wednesday, Dec. 6 was devoted to the Samaritan Inn, so students brought Walmart and Target gift cards, cleaning supplies and food items. On Thursday, the focus shifted to the Marquettes’ partnership with WFAA’s Santa’s Helpers, and students brought in new, unwrapped toys. Finally, on Friday, Dec. 8, students brought clothes and toiletry items for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County.

Four girls smiling by table with canned goods

MHS Student Council members helped collect food for and pack 650 holiday dinners for local families.

McKinney Learning Center
Principal Cindy Morton reported that, for the seventh year, their team delivered Thanksgiving boxes filled with complete Thanksgiving dinners (including the turkey) to their students in need. Giving is an ongoing theme; they give groceries to between 15-25 families in need every Thursday—an effort that Morton said is made possible in part by the school’s partnership with The Parks Church. On Friday, Dec. 22, the church plans to send every student home with a Papa Murphy’s pizza.

McKinney North High School
The McKinney North Student Council for the 12th straight year hosted a food drive to benefit local families over the holidays. Spearheaded by North, the annual MacTown Miracles drive is an MISD community affair with participation and support from the student councils at all three high schools coordinating with local churches and agencies to get meals to families in the community. The drive culminated on Thursday, Dec. 21, when students and staff gathered at North to pack all of the donations into holiday gift bags that will provide 650 holiday dinners—complete with a whole turkey— for families in the McKinney area. Each meal will feed up to 10 people, giving the initiative the potential to impact 6,500 people.

Rows upon rows of paper bags lined up to be filled

In less than 20 minutes this sea of empty bags was filled with holiday dinners for 650 local families.

Minshew Elementary
Minshew has been collecting food to contribute to North’s MacTown Miracles holiday dinner drive, but in addition, the school’s Colt Council wanted to complete a service project of their own. So, they visited The Ivy of McKinney senior assisted living center to play games, make crafts and spend time with the residents.

And…the Minshew PTA organized a food drive to benefit local, non-profit The Red Door Food Pantry, and their school’s atrium has been overflowing with donations, the campus reported.

Serenity High
During Thanksgiving, Serenity students, with assistance from St. Michael’s Church, participated in the school’s Two & Two food donation drive by giving $2 and two non-perishable food items to donate to two families in need. The money was used to purchase two turkey dinners, and the food was delivered directly to the families.

For the Christmas holiday, Serenity students participated in the Toys for Tots donation effort to benefit the Samaritan Inn.

Slaughter Elementary
In addition to a canned food drive organized by the school’s specials teams to benefit the North Texas Food Bank, the Slaughter Wolfpack held their annual Mitten Tree winter clothing collection. All students were asked to decorate the Slaughter tree with donated winter clothing accessories, including mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and socks. They collected 115 items, which were donated directly to the Samaritan Inn. “It was great to watch the students smile as they decorated the tree with these donations,” said Communities in Schools Site Coordinator Kathleen Davis.

Principal, AP and CIS coordinator standing by tree

Slaughter Elementary students donated winter clothing accessories for the school’s Mitten Tree. (l-r) Communities in Schools Site Coordinator Kathleen Davis, Slaughter Assistant Principal Marina Byrd and Principal Nick DeFelice (Courtesy of Slaughter Elementary)

Valley Creek Elementary
Valley Creek Elementary completed a Kindness Explosion. During the weeks of November 6-17, Valley Creek students were challenged to complete 5,000 Acts of Kindness. They went far beyond the goal by accomplishing 6,594 Acts of Kindness toward their friends, teachers and family!

In addition, Valley Creek students donated 300 pairs of gently used tennis shoes which will be shipped to Africa. The students who receive the shoes will have the privilege to attend school, as they are required to wear shoes to be a student in their neighboring schools. The students from Valley Creek hope their friends in Africa will also enjoy the encouraging notes which were written and put inside the shoes for the children. “Valley Creek has always been a place ‘Where Little People Do Big Things,’” said Principal Megan Richards. “With our focus on teaching kindness and helping others around the world, our students are making a difference in spreading positivity far beyond the walls of Valley Creek Elementary.”

Vega Elementary
During November, Vega raised money to benefit the Samaritan Inn. Students led the campaign by creating signs, collecting at the carpool lines and promoting the drive through callouts, fliers and social media. In all, they raised $600 to buy Christmas gift cards for the Samaritan Inn residents.

Walker Elementary
During their Winter Giving Project, Walker students donated 50 boxes of canned goods for sister school, Vega Elementary; huge bags filled with new hats, gloves and scarves for an elementary school in Dallas; and more than $650 in gift cards to be donated to the Samaritan Inn. In addition, the students made more than 100 goodie bags for the McKinney Fire and Police Departments and more than 550 thank you cards to give to the teachers and staff at their own school.

Wilmeth Elementary
Wilmeth’s annual Student Council Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive was a big success this year. The students collected enough food to pack 100 complete Thanksgiving meals—with gift cards to purchase turkeys—for local families.

Boys loading boxes onto the back of a pickup truck.

Wilmeth students load 100 Thanksgiving meals, including gift cards to purchase turkeys, for local families. Wilmeth students collected food items and donated gift cards for the effort. (Courtesy of Wilmeth Elementary)

Wolford Elementary
During November, students at Wolford poured out generosity on sister school, Malvern. They donated approximately 85 new or gently used coats or hoodies and collected enough Thanksgiving meal baskets with all the trimmings for 86 families at Malvern. The project was led by the school’s fifth-graders.

Wolford also participated in Angel Tree donations to benefit Malvern as well. Stonebridge sent a thank you to the staff and students of Wolford, “The families were overwhelmed with all the selection of toys! We couldn’t have done this without the support of Wolford! There are 74 families that are going to have a great Christmas!”

What’s refreshing to point out is that these examples of kindness and humility are not isolated incidents observed only during the holiday season. Throughout the year, students and staff can be found all over the district engaged in efforts to help others in various ways for various causes, whether they be large, group initiatives or simply individual acts of kindness.

And, it’s pretty great to be surrounded by a community like that.

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