Pau-Wa-Lu students learn first-hand how to better their community

Kevin Johnston raised $150.98 and made clothes for Katrina victims, Lindsey Scyphers and Araceli Ceballos collected 1,354 pounds of food and 109 toys for the Carson Valley Community Food Closet and Meghan Elliott and Nancy Duarte collected and sorted toys for Project Santa Claus.

These are examples of projects students in Mena Dedmon's eighth- and ninth-grade leadership class at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School on Jan. 20 gave final presentations on. Presentations included slide shows and props.

Delaney Brooks and Katie Ivie collected 72 cans of dog food and $60 in cash donations for the Douglas Animal Welfare Group, John Gilkerson, Ally Reith and Kyle Jones donated time at the Carson Valley Residential Care Center and Jake Meierdierck, Alex Ficco and Kurt Hamann collected 18 pints of blood.

Jessica Gorton and Samantha Cobb gave a presentation on how they helped second-grade students and counselors at Scarselli Elementary School.

"The minute we walked into that class - they just looked at us and stared," said Jessica, a ninth grader. "After a few days they got up to talk to us. We all grew fond of each other and ended up great friends."

Jordyn Curtis, Shelby Eisele and Ashley Murray took $109 they earned at two weeks of bake sales and purchased blanket fleece, in their project "Helping the Community One Knot at a Time." The blankets went to the City of Refuge, a home for pregnant women in the Pine Nuts. The trio made 12 blankets, four for adults and eight for infants, that have been delivered to the City of Refuge.

"We found out every newborn will be able to receive a blanket this year," said eighth-grader Jordyn.

Alyssa Kangas, Marissa Delgadillo and Corey Trujillo perhaps had the most difficult time with their leadership project. The problems didn't start with selling bracelets to promote organ donation, but with creating and riding the float in the Parade of Lights.

"We thought the perfect way to get the word out was to get a float in the Parade of Lights," said Marissa. "We had so much trouble getting the generator started. Mr. Kangas tried so hard to start the generator."

Carey Kangas, Alyssa's father, spent the majority of the time in the parade working on the generator, which except for a few seconds of bright light, only managed a dim glow at best. The worst was when Carey slipped off the edge of the float, narrowly missing a disaster.

"My dad almost got run over," said Alyssa.

"With the generator, it was pretty grim," said Corey. "But we danced and sang and made the most of it."

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.


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