By: Joey Doughty & Chaslin Hoover
As the holidays approach and families prepare for gatherings and create more memories, it’s important to reach out to the people who may not have these opportunities. When you’re warm and have all you could ask for, it’s sometimes hard to remember people struggle to keep warm in the winter. One way the Shenango Peer Leadership students keep the needs of others in mind is through their annual blanket drive. Blankets are collected, taken to Columbia Gas, and counted after which they are picked up by Lawrence County agencies to be distributed.
“It is so important to give back to the community and realize there are people who don’t have something as basic as a blanket,” mentioned advisor Mrs. Kim Rudesill. The blanket drive has been a large success at Shenango for about ten years and became an even bigger event when the elementary students were included to stress the need of giving back at a young age. In 2018, the county collected a total of 546 blankets, 204 of which came from the kindness of Shenango.
To prepare for this undertaking, all of the Peer Leadership sophomores get together for about two weeks to decorate boxes for the elementary and the high school, and their festive work not only inspires the spirit of giving, but lends Christmas cheer to the hallways of both schools.
Shenango Peer Leadership students also host a Christmas Cookie Walk during the annual winter choir concert. As a group, the students decide what kinds of cookies they would like to bring in order to provide a wide variety. Each student is asked to bake six dozen cookies, which culminates in a total of almost 4000 cookies the night of the walk
“This is at least our tenth year doing the walk and it’s one of our biggest fundraisers that we don’t have to actually put money into,” Mrs. Rudesill explained. “Everything is just donated.” The Christmas Cookie Walk is definitely something that will be continued for many years. Like the blanket drive, the Peer Leaders put a lot of hard work into this event. It’s more than just baking the cookies; they also decorate the lobby and volunteer to work the night of the walk.
“It takes a good part of the afternoon to tray all the cookies and set up tables,” Mrs. Rudesill added.
Most recently, upper class Peer Leaders presented their Make-a-Wish check of over $11,000 on live television from The Mall at Robinson where they were interviewed about last year’s fundraiser. They also gave a preview of the plans for this February’s Make-a-Wish event.
“It was such a fun day. Not only did we get to present our check, but we got to talk about all the hard work and dedication it takes to make an event like Shenango Night Live happen,” said senior Isabella Cionni. “It was an awesome way for all of us to celebrate together, especially during the Christmas season.”