HOMETOWN HERO: Andrew Jackson Middle School Students

By: Carrie Jones Email
By: Carrie Jones Email

CROSS LANES, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- For the last three years, students at Andrew Jackson Middle School have been getting a lesson on compassion.

Principal Lisa Woo and teacher Cathy Harless wanted to get students involved in their community. So, they picked Toys for Tots to be their charity because they thought the students would be able to relate to kids their age.

"It would be awful for us to not have a toy and Christmas, so we give back to the community to make sure everybody does," said Garrett Volk, a 7th grader.

This year the students went above and beyond, raising $13,000.

The students could donate any amount they wanted, even just pennies, nickels or dimes. Some students gave a whole lot more.

"Several kids were willing to give up money that was promised to them for Christmas presents," Harless said. "They asked their parents instead to donate it to the Toys for Tots program instead."

Their money helped buy 50 shopping carts full of toys. They were all donated to the United States Marines' Toys for Tots program.

The school's fundraiser started when Katlin Kouns was in 6th grade. Now an 8th grader, she's excited to see students go from raising $7,000 to $13,000.

"It was unfathomable at first," Kouns said. "It was life changing. It's great to see other children in the community benefiting from something we enjoyed doing."

Students held a walkathon and a charity dance to help raise money.

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