Students compete to donate to local food banks




Horace Good Middle School eighth-graders came away with bragging rights in the competition against Garden City High School's Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) group, in collecting food items for local food banks this year.

As the city of Garden City's park department loaded about 4,500 food items that were collected between the two schools into trucks at HGMS Friday, Detective Clint Brock tried to pull one over on some of the eighth-graders who participated.

"You guys came very close to beating the high school. I'm going to have to rub it in a little bit," Brock told the kids.

This evoked one shocked girl to say, "I thought we did. We didn't beat the high school?"

Brock laughed and told her he was just kidding.

"You guys got about 3,000 and the high school had about 1,500," Brock said. "And then I'm talking to Sam's Club right now, and as soon as we have a final number, Sam's Club is, I think they're going to try to match what you guys have made, so you guys did fantastic. Very good."

School Resource Officer Roger Montez issued the challenge to two first-hour classes at Horace Good around Thanksgiving break.

"What we did is I challenged all the first-hour classes — the class that had the most items, I actually gave them a prize this morning," Montez said.

Teacher Amy Klubine's class collected 160 items, and teacher Lucas Sullivan's class collected 200.

"Mr. Sullivan, his class won the prize this morning for the most actual items in the first hour," Montez said.

Christa Martinez, who teaches eighth-grade reading, joined in the challenge despite not having a first-hour class.

"She just did it because she wanted to join in. Initially, I challenged her to do 300 items. She did that in three days, so I threw the challenge at her, 'I bet you can't do 1,000 items,' and she said, 'OK, I can get 1,000 items.' And as of yesterday, she had 1,350. She had kids from all over the school. She had high school kids bringing her stuff," Montez said.

With bare pantries plaguing local food banks, Brock, who started the competition a few years ago, said they wanted to make a big statement about that.

"Especially with everything that's going on right now. We want to show that there are some good things going on," he said.

While loading a city truck with food items to be delivered to Emmaus House and Salvation Army, Preston Martin, irrigation specialist and supervisor for the city's parks department, said, "Somebody's got to do it, and it's good for the kids. That's the biggest thing."

Montez agreed, saying that the kids know there are people out there who need food, but providing it to them helps them see that they can make a difference.

"Last year, it was amazing, just seeing the kids' faces when they came in. Last year, we did our delivery with a bunch of kids, and we happened to do it at the same time that Emmaus House was handing out their Christmas boxes, so the kids are actually seeing, 'OK, these people really need this.' They saw where it was going and how much it's making an impact," Montez said.

Faith Pineda, 14, said the biggest thing she got out of the experience is helping other people with needs.

"It makes me feel glad that we helped out on it," she said.

Adan Cernas, 12, called their win over the high school impressive and said that the experience was fun, but that it also taught him an invaluable lesson.

"Even the smallest thing could help a lot of people," Cernas said.

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