The Ben Franklin Middle School family came together to assist the Hilltop Neighborhood House in Valparaiso this past month. Hilltop lost a majority of their food pantry due to a recent flooding that occurred, so BFMS wanted to step in and help in any way possible. Physical Education teachers, led by Coach Ryan Osburn, came up with a fun idea to encourage all students at BFMS to assist the community. Mr. Osburn, along with his fellow PE teachers Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Pendleton, and Mr. Coffin, created a fun competition to encourage food pantry donations from the students at BFMS.
Every student at BFMS has a PE class, so this was a great way to reach all students who were willing to help Hilltop restore their food pantry. The top three classes were going to receive awards that would be given to them by the principals of BFMS. Principal Jeanie Sienkowski and Assistant Principal Nick Slater issued over 100 free Sky Zone passes for the top three classes that donated the most during the two-week long food drive. BFMS 6th grader Matt Hofer expressed why this was such a rewarding experience for him and his classmates, “I have been so blessed to never run out of food in my life and I know others needed our help with the recent flood. I wanted to do my best to help out.”
BFMS made daily announcements explaining the standings for the food drive to encourage student participation. When Elizabeth Ehrhardt heard her class was in the running for a potential win she went home and talked to her parents about the food drive: “My mom normally donates items to the community regularly and I thought this would be a good experience to help out Hilltop,” said Ehrhardt. Mr. Osburn’s 8th hour class ended up donating the most to help Hilltop. One student who went above and beyond was 6th grader Edward Curry: “I have witnessed how many people Hilltop has helped because I used to go there. My mom used to work there and they are a great part of our community,” said Curry.
BFMS did not just use their PE classes to assist Hilltop. Student Council and The Builder’s Club also chipped in donating over 3,000 diapers during the two-week span. BFMS as a whole raised over 6,000 items that were transported to Hilltop to help them restock their pantry to assist the community. The Girls Basketball team at Ben Franklin helped load all 6,000 items to be transported to Hilltop from BFMS. This was a complete school effort and it shows the great leadership within our schools and students at such a young age. Congratulations Ben Franklin!