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Clinton Township

April 11, 2013

Student project turns ‘madness’ into ‘careness’

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

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Local families will benefit from the “March Careness” event at Clintondale High School. The project collected more than 800 food and personal hygiene items for those in need.

CLINTON TOWNSHIP —As college basketball fans cheered on their favorite teams during March Madness, students in the Clintondale High School marketing II class organized their own competition that followed suit.

The students run the school store, known as the Hot Spot, and every month, they have a new window display that promotes the establishment’s merchandise and draws in customers. As March got underway, the students brainstormed the theme for the month and decided to do something that would benefit the community.

With a play on March Madness, the marketing II class called the project “March Careness” and collected canned foods, dry foods and personal hygiene products at school for local needy families. There are about 25 students in marketing II, and they solicited donations from the entire student population and the staff the week before spring break.

Marketing II class instructor Kim Spriggs said 201 dry food items, 444 canned food items and 228 toiletries were collected. The students donated half of the goods to the school’s CANDO program that helps students in need. She also said 200 items will benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank. At press time, the students were deciding on where to donate the remaining items.

Rice, pasta, cereal, canned vegetables, toothpaste, toilet paper, soap and toothbrushes were among the donated items.

And like March Madness, March Careness came with some fierce competition. Donors had the option of contributing their goods to either the Hot Spot or the school’s Dragon Café restaurant, which is also student-run.

Whichever team received the donation earned points. The Hot Spot edged out the Dragon Café as receiving more in donations.

Students who contributed items also received community service credit and had the chance to win gift cards via raffles to local stores, courtesy of the school’s Be The Change organization.

“They were a very integral part in us being able to do this,” Spriggs said.

The project came together very quickly, and each student took on a different job to ensure a successful drive. Senior Terri Stewart, for instance, organized the gift cards and kept track of of students’ commnity service hours.

“It made me feel proud of my school. We were able to help others,” she said. “Why not give and do what you can do?”

Tamia Brew was one student who publicized March Careness.

“I had to think of ways to promote the event,” the high school senior said. Making posters, along with sharing information about the project on Facebook and Instagram, got the word out. Talking to other students about it, too, was another way of promoting. “It felt good. We accomplished something.”

“Everyone stepped up and just worked togther,” Spriggs said. “In that short amount of time, everybody played their part. That, as a teacher, is one of the things I’m proudest of.”

“The project went really good for the amount of time we had,” said senior Kylie McAuley, who worked on the window display and “where else I was needed.”

March Careness culminated on the basketball court. A showdown brewed during a school assembly March 28, in which the Hot Spot took on the Dragon Café in a basketball game that tied into the March Madness excitement. This time, it was the restaurant players who defeated the Hot Spot, 49-43.

Seniors Raffy Alam and Heather Buffa helped plan the assembly and believe March Careness was a success.

“I feel that our project will definitely help everyone, and we are hoping to get the other classes to keep this going each year,” Buffa said.

“The response was very good,” Alam said. “At least we tried to help everyone. I think it was a success. Clintondale came together. We all worked together. It’s a good deed. A lot of people will be affected.”

The Hot Spot is open during lunch. It sells drinks, snacks, school supplies and school-related merchandise. While the Dragon Café primarily services the school, it is open to the public. Because running the restaurant is an actual class, the students need prep time, therefore the cafe is open for service Wednesday through Friday.