WEST CHAZY - Reading, writing and arithmetic may be the fundamentals of early education, but Beekmantown Elementary School continues to instill a sense of social responsibility in its students as well. And, they're enthusiastic about the idea.
The school's more than 400 students participated in a Thanksgiving food drive Nov. 4-20, collecting nearly 2,000 nonperishable items. The food was used to assemble Thanksgiving dinners for underprivileged families within the school district, with the remainder donated to the Beekmantown Food Shelf.
School reading specialist Nancy McCormick said she's helped oversee the Thanksgiving food drive for the past five years, with the help of colleague Sharon Carlin. The two are advisors to the school's Kids Council, which is a version of student council for the fourth and fifth grade students, she explained.
Though the club annually initiates the food drive, the rest of the school also pitches in to help in the effort, said McCormick. This year, the drive collected "much more" food than what has been collected in previous years, she said.
"It was fabulous. I think part of the reason is we have more students participating in the Kids Council this year," said McCormick, who noted approximately 30 students are enrolled in the group. "I also think it's because of the challenge we had to see what grade levels could collect the most food. We haven't had a challenge like that in a while."
The challenge involved keeping a daily tally of food collected on a large graph near the school's main entrance, with the top-collecting classes winning an ice cream social from Stewart's Shops.
"I think that helped bring in quite a bit of food," said McCormick.
In the end, two multi-age classrooms comprised of students in grades 2-5, donated the most, with a grand total of 512 items.