East Wake Middle gets over 1,600 items for families in need

mhankerson@newsobserver.comDecember 24, 2013 

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT LASSITER

— Students at East Wake Middle are taking their holiday breaks to celebrate their chosen winter holiday, but they’re also celebrating the season by giving back.

Through a holiday food and toy drive organized by the Student Council Association and the National Junior Honor Society, the school gathered over 1,600 non-perishable food items and toys.

The school’s social worker was able to pass on names of families in need in the East Wake community so the local Kiwanis Club of Knightdale would be able to distribute the food and toys to families within the school.

“What I consider particularly impressive is the amount our students were able to give considering some of the challenges many of them face themselves,” principal Nancy Allen said in a release. “Their spirit of giving was alive and well and they were all acutely aware that regardless of their circumstances, someone, somewhere this holiday season is worse off than they are.”

East Wake usually holds a food drive around this time of year but it’s never been this successful, assistant principal Brady Kocher said.

This year, the school made participation in the drive part of their Positive Behavior and Intervention Support program.

“I thought by giving students a clear reward for their positive actions ... we could increase participation,” Kocher said.

PBIS is meant to help schools address behavioral problems within a school byt rewarding positive behaviors rather than punishing bad ones.

For the food drive, if students brought in three items, they were rewarded by being allowed to spend their last homeroom period of 2013 in the gym with friends, listening to music and playing games.

Those kind of special events are part of East Wake’s normal PBIS program. Faculty and staff can give out PRIDE tickets for when students demonstrate a characteristic of the acronym: punctuality, respect, integrity, determination and excellence.

Those tickets can be exchanged for special privileges, like hanging out with friends in the gym, or they can be used at the school’s PRIDE store.

“It’s not just about punishing those who are making bad choices here, we are also constantly working on ways to reward those who make the right ones,” Kocher said.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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