DOBSON — A team of Central Middle School students has finished second in the state in the annual Belk Service Learning Challenge. The challenge is open to students in grades 4-8.
Central Student Council Teacher Representative Matthew White said a team calling itself the Healthy Hornets accepted the challenge and found, through their own research, childhood obesity is an issue locally with 28 percent of children aged 5 years to 11 years identified as potential sufferers. White said the students also found out only 25 percent of those locally in this age group are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily.
The winning group’s members are Yasmin Hernandez, Jaylynn Cabrera, Esme Lara and Kimberly Antunez. They explained in a video on tinyurl.com/healthyhornets they would provide healthy snacks at the end of the school day for their classmates and are working with local farmers, stores and Surry County Schools Nutrition Department to get the best prices for fruits and vegetables for snacks. They also plan to continue the effort next year with a Healthy Hornet Fruit Stand.
White said each student on the team received a $500 scholarship to use to benefit their cause and school. He said this was the first time the school had submitted entries for this program and said three groups submitted project ideas as the group of 30 students was broken into different teams.
One group, The Audible Hornets, chose a project aimed at helping English as a Second Language (ESL) classmates by making their own recordings of popular books and making them available to classmates in the school media center because the school cannot afford to buy the professional audio books. Another group, Welcome to the Hive, researched and put together survival kits aimed at giving students who enter school mid year needed school supplies.
The members of the Audible Hornets are Sydney McKeavor, Sarah Marion, Sarryn Meyerand Savana Thompson. Students forming Welcome to the Hive are Michael Branch, Luis Martinez, Austin Poplin and Martin Palacios.
“These three groups rose to the top and seemed well aligned with the Belk project,” said White. “They (the Healthy Hornets) did not expect to win. They thought I was crazy to suggest they enter.”
White said he and other staffers involved in the project feel it’s important students learn how important it is to participate in their community needs. He said other student projects where clothing and canned goods are being collected and another activity where students are seeking donations for a spirit rock. Students could donate a dollar to have thumb prints put on the rock with the proceeds going to help classmates.
“This was a lengthy process. We had to sit on this for a month,” said White. “The day we were told we could tell them we pulled the four up to the front office and by the time we all got there to tell them they were scared to death. You could see the relief in their faces when we told them. The first place team this year was from Stoneville.”
David Broyles may be reached at 336-719-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.