WESTON – Lewis County is never short of Good Samaritans, and there’s one more that makes its mark. The twist? He is a seventh grade student at Robert L. Bland Middle School.
Anthony Whitt approached director Julie Radcliff because she wanted to do something for the community. Hat Day, where students can wear hats if they donate to a chosen cause, was born of that discussion and the Lewis County Family Resource Network Food Pantry was then chosen as the recipient.
“Together we agreed to buy one dollar or a canned food. We have also agreed to hold hat days on Friday February 19 and February 26, ”she said.
It is generally not allowed to wear a hat, so the school regularly organizes a hat day, something that students like to participate in.
Radcliff said students have always been enthusiastic about Hat Day, but the final results for this one are not yet here.
Joanna Barnette, a social studies teacher at RLBMS, said she admires Whitt for coming up with the idea, although she isn’t surprised. She said he is a conscientious student, noting that he also happens to have a great sense of humor.
She and Whitt have developed a strong student / teacher relationship that started when Barnette made a mistake one day.
“I clicked when I called him Whitney instead of Whitt. We had a good laugh and the confidence started. On Friday I call him Whitney and he calls me Irma. It’s the little things that make us smile under our masks, ”she said.
Hat days for charity are also not unknown to RLBMS employees and students. However, this one is unique as it was suggested by the student. There have been numerous causes in the past, including families or those in need, Radcliff said.
It was actually a lesson in Barnette’s class that gave Whitt the idea of helping in the community. Barnette said the class covered the Indian caste system. She showed a short documentary about the “untouchable children” in rural communities today.
“Anthony was clearly moved by their stories. He witnessed discrimination on a global level that students had not seen before. He suggested doing something charitable like ‘Hat Day’ to help children in need, ‘Barnette said.
After some discussion, FRN became his business and he made an appointment to talk to the director about his idea.
“Mrs. Ann Zirkle and I were so proud of his initiative, especially during these difficult times,” Barnette continued.
The appeal of Hat Day is that it is both beneficial and convenient for planning a fundraiser to support a local organization. The Lewis County FRN has 51 ongoing programs and projects, 25 of which are with Lewis County Schools, and the relationship continues to grow.
“We are always looking for social organizations to support. We will continue to support the FRN and Hat Day is a great way to do that, ”said Radcliff.
Radcliff said community service projects are a way to teach students the value of giving back.
“The real reason for doing this community project is to help the community. We want students to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in helping their community. Services to others is something we want all our students to appreciate, ”she said.
These learning moments outside the classroom are not uncommon. RLBMS motto is taught to all students, and it is instilled in them long before they reach the doors of Lewis County High School.
“This idea of getting involved is part of our Patriot PRIDE mottos … Patriots are prepared, patriots are respectful, patriots are involved, patriots are trustworthy and if they show the first four characteristics, patriots will ALWAYS be exceptional, ” she said .