Carson students set up food pantry with contest prize money

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

By Sarah Campbell
CHINA GROVE — It took three days of work for Carson High School students to land $5,000.
That’s the prize money they took home for winning first place in the North Carolina School Board Association’s first High School Video Contest in November.
Amie Williams’ contemporary studies class beat out more than 50 entries across the state in the contest to create a 30-second video about “What’s Super About Public Schools.”
Junior Taylor Jarvis said the class wrote a rap to demonstrate how academics, technology, athletics and extracurricular activities combine to make the public school experience great.
Carson Principal Kelly Withers found out about the contest just days before entries were due, so students rushed to shoot and edit the video using iMovie.
“I’m surprised we won because we kind of just threw it together,” senior Jared Books said.
Now, the students were back at Carson, $5,000 richer. What would they do with the money?
“We as a class wanted to use that money to ‘pay it forward,’ ” Williams said.
That means establishing a $500 scholarship and creating “Carson’s Food Pantry,” stocked with a variety of items to send home with needy students.
“The pay it forward idea really came from the students,” Williams said. “They wanted to use the money in a positive way.”
Books said the decision to give back was clear cut.
“A lot of the things we were learning about revolved around how it’s good to help others,” he said.
Jarvis agrees.
“At the time, we were watching the CNN Heroes series everyday on CNN News and it kind of made us want to doing something to help our own community,” she said.
The Be the Change scholarship was awarded to senior Logan Ritchie by a panel of contemporary studies students. A consistent positive attitude and proof of making a positive impact on someone at Carson or the community at-large were requirements for the award.
Students from the contemporary studies class also spent more than $1,000 at Food Lion, buying everything from macaroni and cheese to grits to canned goods to stock their food pantry.
Gerry Wood Auto Group donated backpacks, which will be filled with food and sent home with anonymous Carson students in need each week.
Williams said the group has already given away seven backpacks.
Students are hoping they’ll be able to send home backpacks for the rest of the year, but that depends on whether or not enough donations come in to keep the pantry up and running.
“I hope people will continue to donate to the food pantry so it won’t disappear,” junior Jadelyn Donoho said.
Books said the school’s Junior Citivans club is collecting canned goods in support of the effort this month.
And food isn’t the only thing the students are hoping to collect. They are also stocking personal care items such as shampoo, deodorant and toothbrushes.
Books said in the upcoming months the class is hoping to create a clothing closet with everything from basic outfits to prom dresses.
“We don’t want to stop with the pantry,” he said.
Williams said she’s proud to see her class step up to spread generosity within these school.
“I just really think this shows that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can always help others, even your peers beside you in class because you never know what their home situation is like,” she said. “It also shows that if you try for something, you just might get it.
“It is amazing that we won the contest and it is even more amazing that the kids wanted to use the money in a positive way.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

The following items are needed
for the Carson High School pantry:

• Macaroni and cheese
• Spaghetti and sauce
• Canned vegetables
• Canned fruit
• Rice
• Oatmeal
• Grits
• Canned soup
• Diapers, wipes
• Baked beans
• Canned pastas
• Crackers
• Canned chicken and tuna
• Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste
and deodorant 

Donations can be dropped off at the school’s front office.