WHITING | Small, but with a big heart, Whiting High School is putting in extra effort to give back this school year. Teachers, staff, administrators and students have been hard at work generating and fulfilling ideas that encourage philanthropy and improvement within the school and that help those in need in the community.
At the beginning of the year, Positive Behavior Intervention Support, PBIS, was introduced. PBIS is a school- wide behavior plan that focuses on positive behavior rather than consequences for negative behavior. This plan is designed to help students improve academically and recognizes them for having positive behavior. Each time a student does a good deed, like recycling or helping a fellow classmate or teacher, or succeeds academically by getting good grades or getting accepted into college, they are rewarded with a token. The tokens are worn on the school lanyards of the students to display to their peers.
Coupled with this program is Freshman Academy. Willing members of the WHS National Honor Society and other upperclassmen are mentoring freshmen in their studies and with life skills. Each upperclassman and NHS member is paired with a freshman, and two days a week, sometimes more, the pair meets to work on various assignments. As the program progresses, the Freshman Academy team, a core group of WHS teachers, will continue to collect data to monitor students’ growth and improvement.
“Generous” is word that very well describes the students and community in Whiting this school year. Multiple projects, drives and activities have already been put into action to help others, and there are more to come.
The year began with the “Punt for Pink” football game, a collaboration of both the Whiting High School Booster Club and National Honor Society, where pink items were sold and two raffles were held to raise money for cancer awareness and prevention. Combined, the clubs made about $700 to support the cause. To tie in with the pink theme, the school sold pink tokens for the students’ lanyards during October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. All proceeds will be saved and donated in June to the American Cancer Society during the Relay for Life. With the event continuing to grow each year, staff and students who have previously participated hope to make this year’s the best one yet. Meetings are already being held and team captains are being chosen as WHS once again will come together in the fight against cancer.
In addition to raising funds for Relay for Life, November 23 marked the first annual “119th Gives Back” basketball game with Clark High School. The goal of the game was to join together with Clark to raise money for the American Red Cross, with donations going to Hurricane Sandy victims. The boys will go head-to-head with Clark again on February 22, when a second collection will be held.
The annual WHS Food Drive for the Whiting/Robertsdale Food Pantry was also once again held before Thanksgiving break. Each year, classes compete to see who will bring in the most canned goods or monetary donations. Also, a new competition was started this year: classes also competed in a canned food sculpture contest.
In the end, two classes prevailed. Collecting 490 cans, the most of any other class, was Ms. Flaris’s fourth hour Honors English class. The class having raised the most money was Mr. Nichols’s fourth hour class which collected $171.52. Besides the coveted traditional trophies, both classes were given golden turkey tokens to add to their lanyards.
Besides holding the collections, a new element was added to the food drive this year: a sculpture contest in which four classes took part. Ms. Flaris’s class made a giant slice of pie and fork to accompany it out of the nonperishable items the class had collected and again was declared the winner for their efforts. Other sculptures included a Spanish-style scene complete with cacti and donkeys; a miniature Eiffel Tower; and a full, head-to-toe Yoda.
In total, WHS collected 1,579 cans and raised over $400, more than the school has ever raised before.
“The food pantry was so impressed with the amount of items and money we had collected, as was I,” said WHS Counselor and National Honor Society Sponsor Mrs. Michelle Duncan.
“Each year, it seems that we do better and better and are able to help even more families out. The sculpture contest turned out great, and I hope that we will able to get even more participants next year,” Duncan continued.
Though the school year is only half way through, Whiting High School has already accomplished a lot and plans on continuing to do so by reaching out and helping those in need.