BSHS students organize special meal
As people moved through the line to receive their free lunch at the Central Avenue Center of Hope in Kansas City, Kan., their surprise was evident on their faces.
“We’ve never had it this good,” one man noted, after his plate was filled with lasagna, breadsticks, cheesy potatoes, salad, cookies and cake.
One woman took in the seating area, with tables decked in Bonner Springs High School’s orange and white, and asked, “What are we celebrating today?”
And as she was leaving, another woman shared her thanks with the Bonner High students who had served the meal.
“My tummy’s full and I’ve got a smile on my face,” she told them.
The six juniors from Bonner volunteered last week to serve a special meal for the homeless and less fortunate at the Center of Hope. But their work started long before they armed themselves with serving spoons and gloves.
Their English teacher, Jeff Fouquet, has been challenging his American Literature students to give back to the community in some way.
Not as a part of a club, class or other requirement. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
In February, about 25 of Fouquet’s students first volunteered at Center of Hope, which serves lunch to about 100 people each week day. Fouquet heard some of the reactions students had to serving lunch for those in need over two visits and threw out a challenge: Get together, raise some money and organize a special, higher-quality meal, with the help of the Family and Consumer Science classes.
“They took it upon themselves,” Fouquet said. “They set the goal, raised their target, took their money to the FACS teacher and said ‘What can you do with this?’”
Several students initially expressed interest, but those who formed the final group planning the meal were Kaysi Bias, Jordan Lackner, Tess Newberry, Hannah Novogradic, Samantha Ricci-Weller, Sydney Shepherd and Chad Uhl. The students decided to raise $50 each and worked with Tara George, FACS teacher, to figure out a menu and arrange for her classes to cook the meal.
Students said when serving meals previously, they noticed what was served was mainly carbohydrate-filled casseroles.
“Generally, we’re just giving them more options,” Newberry said.
Most of the students said raising the funds was a simple matter of sharing information about Center of Hope with people in the community.
“We just started talking to people about it and they wanted to help,” Uhl said. “It showed that there’s still good in humanity.”
The students were able to save some of the money they raised and give the center a $50 donation in addition to the meal they provided.
Ricci-Weller was unable to go to the Center of Hope to serve the meal, but the other students said it was a humbling experience.
“It makes you realize everything you have could be gone in a split second,” Uhl said.
Newberry said she realized how much some organizations helping the less fortunate need more manpower in addition to more funding.
“It showed me that the people who can help, should,” she said.
The students said many of the people they served let the students know that the meal had made their day.
“They’re very thankful, which is nice,” Shepherd said. “Somebody told me ‘God bless you’ — it was so sweet.”
Fouquet’s students also have volunteered recently with Habitat for Humanity projects.
On April 25, these students participated in the construction of a new home in Kansas City, Kan., for Heartland Habitat for Humanity: Buddy Burnett, Elijah Cote, Justus Seaton, Ryan Turner, Shawn Bryant, Dalen Reed, Amber Brillhart, Sammy Ricci-Weller, Lauren Culter and Cheyanne Miller. On April 26, the following students participated in a home improvement/community outreach renovation in Prairie Village in conjunction with Heartland Habitat for Humanity: Buddy Burnett, Justus Seaton, Caleb Bennett, Troy Hull, Elijah Cote, Ryan Turner, George Docking, Miranda McCullough, Stephanie Arnold, Peter Swanson and Tatiana Torres. Fouquet and Casey Seirer, Industrial Arts teacher, served as sponsors for both volunteer efforts.