The holiday season has brought out a whirlwind of community service at ORRHS, particularly in the past few weeks when students have been active in several events calling on them to give back to the Tri-Towns that many call their home.
“Giving back to the community is important because everything around us comes from the community, and improving it as a whole begins with improving things for individuals,” said senior Emily Bock, a member of the Community Service Club.
The first of these was the annual “Toys for Tots” toy drive, hosted jointly by the high school’s Community Service Club and the Mattapoisett Police Department.
Student members had spent the previous club meeting creating decorative posters advertising the donation event, and a dozen spent their first block of school outside the next day working alongside police officers from the three towns to ensure a successful drive.
“While it was really cold outside, it was so nice to see people donating toys,” senior Hannah Powers said. She has been a member of the Community Service Club for the past several years. “We filled about two cruisers, and the police officers brought hot chocolate!”
Holiday fundraiser events weren’t just limited to specific clubs; in fact, each of the four grades at the high school ran their own unique fundraiser in order to support four local families in need this winter. With four anonymous families and four grades, each class was assigned one family who would benefit from the efforts at ORR this holiday season.
“With the holiday season coming up, we believe it is crucial that people should be able to enjoy it without worries,” said Student Council Executive Board member Ryu Huynh Aoyama. “With each class utilizing festive, creative, and innovative ideas to help out anonymous local families, I believe it shows the warm closeness of our ORR community!”
While some had a distinct holiday theme – the seniors received pledges to wear ugly Christmas sweaters to school and the juniors went caroling at Center School – other fundraisers revolved around fun competitions. The sophomores raced to see who could sell the most baked goods, and the freshmen used donations as votes towards a final event.
“Students could pay to vote for a teacher they wanted to wrap in toilet paper, and the teacher who gets nominated the most by the end of the week gets ‘toilet papered’ by the students who participated. This is all with the consent of the teachers,” freshman president Lucy Zhang explained. “The proceeds are going to a family in need this season, and the Student Council Executive Board is matching the money fundraised so we can donate double the amount.”
The sophomore and senior classes also held smaller events last weekend aimed at spreading a night of fun to some of the younger members of the local community. The seniors held a holiday workshop in the school cafeteria, supervising kids for a few hours so parents could have time to holiday shop at area stores. The next night, the sophomores hosted a family movie night in the school library, complete with some coloring time and a few rounds of musical chairs.
Rachel Demmer spoke on both fundraisers the seniors had run last week.
“The Christmas sweaters were a fundraiser to help raise money for needy families in the Tri-Town and the babysitting was just a little fundraiser for the senior class,” said Demmer. “Both went over fairly well, which we were excited about. For the workshop, we had a good showing of around 25 kids, and we raised about $405 combined with both fundraisers.”
Demmer continued, “I believe it is important to unite the class since we have so many exciting events coming up, but it’s also important for everyone to learn how to pitch in and grow as a group.”
“For our grade,” she added, “participation has been a bit low, but since we have about half a year left together, I believe we should make as much of it as we can and participate in as much as we can.”
Overall, the various service oriented events planned and hosted by students at ORRHS have created a festive and more grateful atmosphere in both the school and community as both groups came together to give back this holiday season.
By Jo Caynon