September 22, 2012 in Washington Voices

Famous friend meets students

Students get visit to celebrate winning pop top campaign
By The Spokesman-Review

Two elementary schools in the Central Valley School District celebrated their achievements in helping a local charity and received a visit from a special friend.

Ronald McDonald visited Progress and Adams elementary schools Wednesday. The schools collected the most pop tops for the Ronald McDonald House last school year. The district’s elementary schools compete against each other to see which can collect the most.

Parent volunteer Doug Cooper said the competition last year was pretty tight. For most of the school year, the Kindergarten Center was ahead, but Adams took the lead at the end with 264 pounds, 15.4 ounces or 0.661 ounces per student. Progress came in second, with 220 pounds, 1.3 ounces, or 0.651 ounces collected per student.

Cooper said he calculates the winner by dividing the amount collected by the number of students, which makes it fair for smaller schools to compete with larger ones.

Districtwide, students collected 1,225 pounds of pop tops. Last year it was 1,150.

“This year we’re shooting to get higher than that,” Cooper said.

Collecting pop tops at the elementary level has been a districtwide activity only since the 2010-’11 school year. Cooper started running the contest between classrooms at Adams since his daughter was in kindergarten. This year she’s a fifth-grader and Cooper said they are planning to continue with the contest, hopefully someday she can make it part of her senior project.

Wednesday’s celebration kicked off the contest for this year. Ronald’s message to students reinforced the idea of thinking about what you can do for your community.

At Progress, Ronald entered the room to excited squeals. He talked about citizenship and giving back to the community.

He had three ideas of things the kids could share with their community: talents, time and gifts.

“Everybody has a special talent,” he said.

He suggested picking up garbage in a park or planting a tree, volunteering at an animal shelter or participating in a food drive.

Ronald told them their pop top drive is a good example of giving back.

The kids laughed and cheered throughout the program and the visitor left them a poster to hang in the school, reminding them to give back.

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