If there is one thing that Turlock Junior High School Social Studies teachers Dustin Christian and Kayla Amador learned after pitting their two classes against each other in a friendly competition to bring in more donations for Turlock Together, it is that there are going to need a lot more blue barrels next year.
Just over the course of six weeks, students from both classes managed to collect nearly 4,000 cans and non-perishable goods for the annual fundraising effort—an amount that Christian and Amador regarded as “record-breaking.”
“These kids have worked very hard to collect these canned goods, and they did it without receiving any extra credit, or grade bump, but rather out of the kindness of their hearts,” said Christian.
Dominic Pereyda, who is in seventh grade, was just one student who contributed to the mass of donations from TJHS. Along with his classmates, Pereyda said he wanted to help those less fortunate during the holiday season.
“I donated food to the poor so they have food on Christmas and they don’t starve,” said Pereyda. “I want them to know that they’re not worthless and people care about them and they shouldn’t let themselves down. There’s still hope.”
Seventh grader Kenna Bondshu agreed with Pereyda’s reasoning when she said that she also wanted to help out needy families during this time of year “to make sure that they have a good Christmas.”
“I hope they enjoy everything. We tried our best to help them out,” said Bondshu.
Christian said that he felt that it was important to have this friendly competition between the two classes not only because he wholeheartedly supported the efforts of Turlock Together, but because it teaches his students to have “feelings for others that are in need.”
“As seventh and eighth graders, they’re in that transitional state where they are growing up to be young adults and understanding the world outside of school,” said Christian. “They are beginning to see that there are multiple levels of economic societies and that the people who need these donations could very well be their neighbors, friends or classmates.”
While Amador laughed when she said that the class that collected the most cans and perishable goods got to enjoy a performance of “I’m A Little Teapot,” courtesy of their second-place classmates, she hopes that the main takeaway her students got from the competition was a newly-found love for giving.
“They were very into the competition, so hopefully that attitude will motivate them to help others well into the future,” said Amador. “This gave them a chance to give back to the community and remember what the season is about—giving, not just receiving.”
One student who definitely said that he will continue giving back to his community in the future was eighth grader Bryan Carbajal, who said that he has always enjoyed giving to those in need.
“I just like giving food to the poor,” said Carbajal. “I just want them to know that they are people and they should be treated as people.”