TRUE ‘GRIT’: Students conclude campaign to raise funds for hurricane victims

Published 5:41 pm Friday, September 8, 2017

“Volunteer Spirit” has been in full abundance for Carter County students.
Happy Valley High School students involved with the GRIT Club held a special ceremony Friday to induct new members and donated $481.11 to the American Red Cross following a successful turnout for a Hurricane Harvey fundraiser with Hampton High School.
Made up of Honors students in Ms. Jessica Keith’s class, the GRIT club has hit the ground running over the past four weeks in coming up with ideas on how to incorporate hard work and passion into the lives.
“All it took to inspire this group of Honors students was an idea,” Keith said. “It was carefully chosen words. My job as a facilitator of knowledge is also to show the power of words and ideas. Words and ideas change the world.”
Keith led a ceremony during class Friday in where she recognized the students that took part in the fundraising efforts.
“Charity Greene assumed the role of leader on this project,” Keith said. “She organized the charity fundraiser, she recruited her father and church, the Free Gift Gospel Mission, to send supplies and she used social media correctly to spread the word about the need for monetary donations and supplies.”
Other students recognized during the ceremony included Katlyn Sehrer, Kylea Hughes, Haley Smith, Ashlee Orloff, Macy Puckett, Lily Milam, Kenzie Dugger, Caleb Lewis, Trep Armstrong, Holly Orield and Natalie Newsome. Keith also commended the efforts of Luke Naylor and Dylan McKeehan, members of the Happy Valley football team.
Following the indication of students to the GRIT club, Greene presented Angela Morris with the American Red Cross with the funds. Keith added that a truck full of supplies had already been sent down to Texas.
“The entire class really put their heart and soul into the project,” the teacher added. “Hampton High School was also an important part to this. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to reach this amount. What started off as a class project turned into a county-wide mission.”
On the heels of the successful fundraiser, the Carter County School System announced a partnership with Bristol Metals and Pittman Trucking to form “H20 for Houston”, a project to accept bottled water to assist individuals impacted by the natural disaster.
Water collections will be accepted through Monday, Sept. 11, at 5:30 p.m. and can be dropped off at any county school between 8 a.m to 5:30 p.m. except for Little Milligan, which will accept water until 3 p.m.
The community is encouraged to participate. Water will be packaged and shipped by Bristol Metals and transported by Pittman Trucking.
Seeing the growth of an idea was a sight to see, according to Keith. The idea of forming the GRIT club came after studying the works of Angela Duckworth.
“This was a theory that is based on the philosophy and psychology of Angela Duckworth’s work with Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. I saw her six-minute Ted Talk over the summer, and it really matched my philosophy of teaching and really just life in general,” Keith said.“It isn’t talent we should pay attention to, but rather the passion and perseverance it takes to develop skills to make people successful in whatever their pursuits may be. It hasn’t been applied in a classroom setting, and that’s where I have been developing the application of this in a school atmosphere.”
Over the past four weeks, Keith noted her students writing skills have grown to collegiate-like levels and that students are more focused on learning and what makes the better well-rounded individuals, including going above and beyond outside the classroom.
Students part of GRIT have criteria to meet, including
• Class leadership or participation
• Proactive behavior or positive attitude
• Helping others learn
• Holding a partner accountable or the class
• Must prove school participation or performing well in another teacher’s class
• Completing assignments on time and meeting requirements of an assignment
• No cell phone use
• No tardiness, absenteeism or excessive bathroom use
• No referrals in any class
• No disrespect
• No cheating, lying or plagiarizing
Students that are part of the club can receive different recommendations and other essentials to help throughout their high school experience.
Bernie Young, Happy Valley High School principal, commended the work of Keith during Friday’s ceremony and the work by the entire class for what they’ve been able to accomplish already in the school year.

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