GCHS Values Compassion and Collaboration During the Holidays


Lily Thompson

Ms. Blair’s classes have been one of the front runners in the Trim a Tree competition organized by National Honor Society. This program helps fund Christmas gifts for children in the community.

Lily Thompson, Staff Reporter

With the holiday season right around the corner, there are many community service opportunities at Great Crossing to support the families of Georgetown who are in need of a helping hand this holiday.  GCHS operates on the 5 C’s for success: commitment, communicate, collaborate, culture, and compassion, and the holidays provide students with the chance to focus on compassion and collaboration to help others.  

In November, GCHS showed compassion for the community with the canned food drive. When it ended on November 22nd, GCHS students had brought in over 28,000 cans that were donated to the Amen House.  Great Crossing’s FFA had made it a goal to collect the canned food and nonperishable items as a part of their club and by learning the value of giving back to the community. Addi Ruber is a sophomore member of the GCHS FFA. She believes that  community service is very important for students to engage in. “Community service is important to give students a better understanding and sense of community. These small acts of kindness can improve the lives of everyone involved and bring everyone together,” she said.

Another annual opportunity for students to help out is brought to our school by the National Honor Society’s Trim a Door fundraiser. This works by asking students to purchase an array of ornaments for a particular teacher’s door. The teacher that has the most ornaments before we let out for winter break gives all their classes a party with treat. All the proceeds from this competition go to the Salvation Army to buy gifts for children on Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. 

This has been a tradition at Great Crossing for the past several years. Greshen Willis, faculty advisor for NHS, said, “We are already halfway to our fundraising goal of meeting last year’s total $1400. It is because teachers like Ms. Blair and Ms. Hebert, our current leaders, make this campaign so successful. We are blessed to have a culture of service at Great Crossing High School!” 

Social studies teacher Chole Hebert has historically been a front runner for winning the Trim-a-Tree competition.  Hebert has a strong strategy for getting students to participate.  She explained, “We talk a lot about what it means to be a good citizen and an overall good person in our social studies class, and this is a great way to help their community. I try to make it fun as we do it, with extra incentives and with it being a competition, and the students are more eager to participate and help a fellow student without even knowing!”

National Honor Society President Paige Werner is proud of the work that the Trim-A-Door campaign has accomplished. “I find this fundraiser to be one of the most influential we host, because Christmas and the winter holidays are a time where most children are flourished with gifts. Having students see the wishes these kids have for their Christmas morning is incredibly eye-opening. Teaching our students to be servant leaders at this age is important for the development of Great Crossing as a high school as well as the well-being of our community,” Werner stated.

A third opportunity to provide those in need in December is the annual Toys For Tots program facilitated by the Georgetown Fire Department. This program is run by firefighter Scott Markey.  Markey said, “It is a very humbling experience to see the joy our work brings to kids who were used to waking up to not seeing any sign that Santa was there with toys. No child deserves to not have a Christmas experience. Any volunteer, young or old, expects to be there for thirty minutes but quickly realizes they don’t want to leave and want to continue helping as much as they can.” 300-360 kids are helped each Christmas through this program on average. FFA also helped out this year with Toys For Tots by asking for donations of new unwrapped toys for local children in the community. 

Lastly, is a program that is a liason between the different charitable opportunities. This organization is called Share The Joy and is organized by Tracie Hoffman, Georgetown City Clerk. Hoffman said, “Our program is for individuals aged 18 and under and senior citizens (ages 62 and over) that qualify and live in Scott County. Paperwork must be completed and reviewed to qualify for assistance. Locals must apply as well to be a sponsor to assist these families and “adopt” them.”  This program allows groups of people to “adopt” families and help them through the holidays whether that be with food, toys, and/or clothing. Students in a school club or even a group of friends could help assist these families. This program goes hand in hand with the angel tree that many churches have during the holiday to find families in the community to help through the winter. A way to get involved in Share The Joy is to talk to the school resource coordinator CheriRisher. 

All of these opportunities allow students to strive in learning compassion and empathy for people in their own community, they can make both GCHS and the larger Georgetown community a better place to learn and live.