Jeannette Junior High School eighth grader Yousif Salim, 13, and Principal Antionette Hamilton pose with some toys that they collected for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Jeannette Junior High School eighth grader Yousif Salim, 13, and Principal Antionette Hamilton pose with some toys that they collected for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Photo by Donna Agusti


UCS students get into the spirit of giving

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 20, 2019

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STERLING HEIGHTS — Utica Community Schools students are getting their turn to play Santa to charities that aid the poor, combat disease and more.

As part of an annual holiday campaign, UCS spokesman Tim McAvoy said, the district’s students are involved with a total of over 200 different charity drives, and each school in the district is doing one or more of them.

Recipients of the schools’ various efforts include the Shelby Township Lions Club, the Leukemia Foundation,  UNICEF, Relay for Life, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Operation Christmas Child, Operation Gratitude, Turning Point and Special Olympics.

According to a UCS list, Jeannette Junior High School has been holding charity campaigns for a Kiwanis food drive, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and an “Adopt a Family” program.

Jeannette Junior High School Principal Antionette Hamilton praised her school’s canned food and toy drives. She added that the school also plans to collect towels for the homeless in February, though that one isn’t included with the holiday drives.

Hamilton said Jeannette’s students voluntarily sign up for different clubs and programs at school, and those programs are responsible for organizing charity drives. She said she likes the charity drives as a way to teach students about their roles and responsibilities beyond academics.

“It gives them an opportunity to build community, serve; and (it) gives them an opportunity to do something on a greater level,” she said. “This is a new level of skill they can take throughout their entire lifetime and be a good role model for their own peers.”

Jeannette eighth grader Yousif Salim said he is part of the student council and helped with the Toys for Tots charity drive. He said he likes to help people who may not have what they need.

“We’d go around to fourth hour and collect toys,” he said. “It feels good because I’m thankful for what I have, so I help (others) have.”

In a statement, UCS Superintendent Christine Johns said the seasonal charity drives are a way for students and staff to “give back to a community that continues to support us.”

“The charity efforts also develop important community service skills in students that will lead them to be caring, involved leaders in their future,” Johns said. “We remain committed to helping our students succeed both academically and in life.”

Find out more about Utica Community Schools by visiting www.uticak12.org or by calling (586) 797-1000.

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