Last week my partner, Zoe Stiling, and I went to Freedom High School to see how our drive was going, but due to the short notice we were not able to get anything accomplished there. But when we returned this morning, it was a different story! Zoe and I went down a line of classrooms we had on our list to visit today and while some had a fizzling out of student support, other students went out of their way to bring in school supplies.
The first teacher visited was Mr. Lawrence, who teaches American History, he told us that another teacher took his box and was gathering most of the boxes in another classroom! We wondered who it could be, but had no idea! The next teacher visited was Ms. Feldman, who also went to the University of South Florida! As we stepped in her room, we found out who was the box hoarder! Her class had filled up ALL of their boxes, additional boxes and had still needed more! What an amazing surprise! She told us that one of her students had a family member who was previously deployed in Afghanistan come in and talk about how the children over there loved the soldiers! He provided a story of an Afghan child giving information on the Taliban to him; the little boy went as far as telling him that there was an ambush set up in their path and potentially saved him and his crew. It is truly a wonder how much we can help the children over there with school supplies, but more so how they can help us and our troops.
After realizing we would need a cart to carry all of the boxes down to our cars, we decided to visit some of the other teachers before carrying them all down. We visited our most involved teacher, Mrs. Carr, who is throwing a donut party for the students that bring the most supplies; she had a couple of boxes still being filled up from her classes. She was a little disappointed with the turnout of school supplies, but we could not be more thankful to her for being such a great support for this cause at Freedom High School. Mrs. Carr has really been awesome to work with because she loves this cause and believes in what we are trying to accomplish. Mrs. Carr was not the only one who was having a little trouble motivating students to bring in more supplies, three other teachers we visited had less supplies than they had expected. I believe that spring break being so soon, FCAT and AP exams could be the reasons for their lack of interest.
Walking to other classrooms, we ran into a couple of the other involved teachers. The first person we ran into was one of our favorite teachers, Mr. Roberts, our AP Literature teacher. We asked him how the drive was going and he said that someone had taken his box too! Already knowing why, we just laughed. Mr. Roberts did say that he was going to try and raise money for our shipping supply instead of raising school supplies. Both Zoe and I were ecstatic to hear this news since our shipping fund is looking a little low. Then we came across Dr. Barthel, our AP Environmental Science teacher. She had two boxes she had filled herself and mentioned possibly supporting our shipping fund through donations from the Beta Club and Science Club! Looks like our shipping fund may not be as low as we thought! We also collected two boxes from Ms. Ball’s classroom, which has donated at total of 7 boxes on their own! What a fantastic job they are doing! She was also disappointed with her supply turnout but we are so proud of her and her students. We couldn’t ask for more than what she is already doing!
When we finally made it back to Ms. Feldman’s to collect all of the boxes, we were half soaked from the humidity and half soaked from the rain outside! But we were ready to put in some hard work and load the boxes onto our cart. We were probably in the classroom for 20 minutes total stacking the boxes on the cart to go downstairs and it took about 20 minutes to load them into the car. But seeing that trunk FULL of school supplies made it all worth it! In our last minutes in Ms. Feldman’s classroom, Zoe was putting some boxes together to leave for more school supplies and she broke a box! She just doesn’t know her own strength sometimes! That made for a pretty funny moment in our day at Freedom High School.
What made for scary moment at Freedom High School today is when we finished packing most of the boxes in Zoe’s car and I dropped the elevator key without noticing for a minute. All of a sudden we’re at my car getting more boxes to leave in Ms. Feldman’s classroom and I realize that the elevator key is not in my hand anymore! That was not good considering that the teacher who gave it to me said specifically not to lose it! But I realized that I had it while we were at Zoe’s car and lucky enough, it was in between the path from her car to mine! Thank goodness we found it! Telling the teacher I lost it was definitely not an option! This event made for another funny story of the day- after we found the key!
Earlier in the morning when we had visited Mr. Leitske’s class, he was also disappointed with his recent supply turnout. He asked us what we thought the students could do to remember to bring school supplies and after saying some not-so-motivating ideas, I threw out an extra credit idea and that got the students interested! But we also decided to try to get SMSgt Rex Temple to come out to Freedom and speak to the students to get them motivated, but also to reward the students that had brought in so many school supplies for the children of Afghanistan! We want to make this happen sometime before their spring break because I know many of the students have AP exams the week after spring break and our supply deadline is right before their spring break. If that cannot happen though, we know that we will be collecting more school supplies after our semester grades are done so maybe Rex could come in after all the FCAT and AP exam madness. We told this idea to all of the teachers involved and they absolutely loved it! Dr. Barthel recommended that we talk with Mr. Thomas who works in the front office to set up a date. On our way out of the school, we caught him just as he was getting out of a meeting and he recommended April 21, the last day before their spring break. I am going to email the main teachers involved and see what date is available for them and have them talk to Mr. Thomas about setting it up.
On another note, our USF Honors College class has a booth at Bull Market THIS Wednesday from 10am to 2pm in front of the Beef o’ Brady’s by the Student Marshall Center! So come out with some school supplies and you will get a free slice of Papa John’s pizza or if you don’t have any school supplies, you can donate $1 for a slice of pizza to go towards our shipping fund! Check out our Facebook event page for more details at the link provided below. Come help feed hungry children’s minds and we will feed you pizza!