2008-02-14 / News

PTO hosts canned food drive during 'Spirit Week'

By Sam Bari

Melrose School third graders Josef Cohen, Madison Hodrick, and Matthew Bonner celebrate "Mad Hatter Day" during Spirit Week. Photo by Sam Bari Melrose School third graders Josef Cohen, Madison Hodrick, and Matthew Bonner celebrate "Mad Hatter Day" during Spirit Week. Photo by Sam Bari The Jamestown Parent Teacher Organization is hosting a food drive to benefit the Jamestown food bank during Spirit Week at Melrose School this week. Spirit Week is traditionally held the week before February vacation.

"It celebrates keeping the school and the community together in a unified unit," co-principal Carrie Melucci said.

A parent suggested ending the week with a student-faculty game similar to the ones that are held at Lawn school with the soccer and basketball teams. The games are popular events at the middle school and it was thought that the younger students would enjoy the interaction with their teachers on less structured level.

Using the event as a fund-raiser, by selling raffle tickets to the students for a chance to participate in the game, was briefly discussed before PTO co-president Robin Tregenza suggested the food drive and raffle.

"The PTO strives to have at least one community service project throughout the school year that ties to the local community," Tregenza said. "We chose the Jamestown food bank because it is a local organization and we had been told that their shelves were getting low."

For every canned good or nonperishable food item that students brought in between Feb. 11 and Feb. 13, they received a raffle ticket to be entered in the "Knock the Pin" raffle. Four students from each grade will be chosen in today's raffle to play "Knock the Pin" against the Melrose School staff tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 15.

"The kids are so excited. We have had a great response so far. Kids have been bringing in multiple cans," Tregenza said. She also said the staff has been supportive of the effort, as well as students from the middle school.

"The staff participation rate is over 90 percent, and we have even had people from Lawn bring in food because they read about it in the Warrior," she said.

Kathy Brownell, a volunteer with the food bank, praised the schools for their civic-mindedness. "The school has always been very generous. I talked to the classes and told them that they may feel their item is small, but when added to all the other items, the amount is enormous," she said. "I tell them it goes to people who may need just a little help."

The project is a win-win situation, according to Tregenza, because the students learn about community service and helping others and the food bank benefits with fuller shelves.

PTO co-president Karen Rafanelli said this year's Spirit Week also has an extra added attraction since it takes place during Black History Month. A program of African dance and drumming, mask parade and music was presented at both schools.

Michele Bach-Coulibaly, professor of African Dance at Brown University, accompanied by a dozen supporting dancers and musicians, presented the arts and history of Mali through a storytelling slide show of Mali Festivals. The performance culminated with a parade of dancers wearing traditional colorful raffia masks.

Spirit Week was celebrated with a different dress theme for every day of the week.

Monday was Hat Day. Students wore their favorite hat or something crazy on their head. Tuesday was Pajama Day. Students and staff alike wore their coziest pajamas to school. Everyone showed their school spirit by wearing school colors, green and white, on Wednesday.

Today is Dress as Your Favorite Book Character Day. Everybody will try to guess the characters their friends are portraying.

Tomorrow, Friday, is Sports Day. Students can wear their favorite team uniforms, T-shirts, or hats.

Melucci, Rafanelli and Tregenza all said they were pleased at how the school has managed to tie Spirit Week, Black History Month, and the food drive together for the good of the community.

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