Pickerington schools from top to bottom have gotten into the holiday spirit this year, according to the district's superintendent, who this week outlined a wealth of cash, clothing and food donations made by local students in recent weeks.
In addition to preparing students for the 21st century workplace, a critical component of local teaching is to be mindful of the needs of one's community, Pickerington Local School District Superintendent Rob Walker said Monday, Dec. 10, at a Board of Education meeting.
It was with that in mind that he lauded district students and teachers, from elementary through high school, for their efforts to help provide to less people this holiday season.
Although total contributions weren't tallied, Walker noted that all 14 school buildings in the district, as well as the district' administrative office, this year have held drives to collect money, toys, clothing or food to benefit area families or charitable organizations.
"It's overlooked by our community just because it's not known," Walker said.
"It's more than just schools receiving," he said. "It's schools giving back to their community."
Walker then led a presentation highlighting holiday giving in the district this year.
* Fairfield Elementary -- Students throughout the school are holding an ongoing fundraiser for the Pickerington Food Pantry and fourth-graders have adopted families to assist during the holidays.
* Heritage Elementary -- Declared December a month to give back to the community.
Students and staff have facilitated the effort by collecting coats and other winter clothing to be donated to Shepard's Place in Reynoldsburg.
They also have held a fundraiser for the Pickerington Food Pantry.
* Pickerington Elementary -- Students raised money for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Heart Lab, made ropes for dogs in a local shelter and went caroling at Abbington Assisted Living.
They also donated spare change to buy books for needy children and donated money to the Pickerington Food Pantry.
* Sycamore Creek Elementary -- Sent letters and care packages to district graduate Eric Ingram's military unit in Afghanistan, held a book drive for Children's Hospital, raised money for the Pickerington Food Pantry and will buy gifts for classmates in need after raising money in November and December through "All Jeans Friday" events.
* Toll Gate Elementary -- Collected toys for the Violet Township Fire Department's annual toy drive, contributed to a local "Coats for Kids" drive and are currently collecting donations for a student's family whose mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
* Tussing Elementary -- Students and staff raised more than $400 and collected more than 50 toys for a "Toys for Tots" drive.
* Violet Elementary -- Donated 75 new toys for the fire department's toy drive.
* Diley Middle School -- Adopted 21 families through a Fairfield County Children's Services holiday program, adopted six more Diley Middle School families in need and donated $465 to the Pickerington Food Pantry.
* Harmon Middle School -- Raised approximately $3,500 to purchase bicycles, games and electronics to be donated to the VTFD's toy drive.
* Toll Gate Middle School -- Donated more than 700 items to the Pickerington Food Pantry and the Byron Saunders Foundation, raised money to purchase gifts and necessities for Fairfield County families in need and several students made blankets, cookies and cards to donate to the Pickerington Senior Center.
* Lakeview Junior High -- Collected approximately $200 for Faith Mission, adopted six Lakeview families for the holidays and are currently collecting canned goods for the Pickerington Food Pantry.
* Ridgeview Junior High -- Raised approximately $825 for families of Ridgeview students in need and collected $109 to be donated to the Mid-Ohio Regional FoodBank.
* Pickerington High School Central -- HOPE and Key Club members held a "yellow out" at a recent boys' basketball game to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and collected toys for Children's Hospital and Nellie's Catwalk for Kids.
Student council also adopted five local families.
Additionally, the school collected items for the Pickerington Food Pantry, and two classes collected toys for the Baltimore-Thurston Fire Department's toy drive and made holiday gift cards for children at St. Jude's hospital, respectively.
* Pickerington High School North -- Adopted 11 families in the community and currently is raising money for another local family in need.
Students also collected items and raised money for the Pickerington Food Pantry, collected toys for Children's Hospital and Toys for Tots and Key Club adopted three teenagers through a Salvation Army program.
* PLSD District Office -- Purchased winter hats and gloves for 35 children involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fairfield County and collected more than $300 for the Pickerington Food Pantry.
"I think the ante or the bar already has been established," Walker said. "We will continue to make the community aware, and teach these valuable lessons."
In other school board news, Mifflin Township Fiscal Officer Nancy White presented the district and PLSD Treasurer Dan Griscom with the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the district's comprehensive annual finance report.
The certificate is the highest form of recognition in government accounting and financial reporting. This year marked the 20th year the PLSD has received the award.
"It represents a significant accomplishment by its government and its management," White said.
Additionally, the school board announced it will hold its annual budget and organizational meeting beginning at 6:40 p.m. Jan. 14 at Heritage Elementary.
That meeting will immediately proceed the board's first regular meeting of 2013.