JEFFERSON — While many adults look forward to Tuesday as the day a new president will be sworn in, students at Jefferson Elementary School are looking forward to the day for a different reason.
Tuesday, the 100th day of school, is when students will find out if they reached their goal of collecting 3,700 nonperishable items to donate to an area food bank.
"Every year, most schools do a can food drive around Christmas, but with there still being so much need after the holidays, we thought it would be a great idea to do something after the holiday season was over," said Stacey Blagg, a prekindergarten teacher at the school and co-chairwoman of the committee that organized the drive.
When asked why they are collecting food, even the youngest know why they have been asking their parents for items to bring.
"We’re bringing stuff in so we can count it," said Bryson Chajon, a 4-year-old in Blagg’s Pre-K class. "And so we can give it to who don’t have food."
The food drive began Jan. 7. Each of the elementary school’s 37 pre-K through third grade home rooms were challenged to collect 100 nonperishable items; so far, a little more than 3,000 have been collected.
"Some classes collected their 100 items on the first day," said Anny Kenney, the school’s counselor who also helped organize the event. "But this isn’t just a can food drive. Each of the teachers have turned it into a grade-level math-oriented activity."
Blagg said pre-K classes have been using bar graphs, and kindergarten classes are using tally marks to illustrate how many items have been collected.
Older students are using more advanced methods to chart their progress, Kenney said.
"First-grade students are marking their progress by using charts where one can equals 10 collected items," she said. "Second-grade students are doing the same thing, except one can equals five collected items.
"We always want to do something fun on the 100th day of school, but this way we not only have fun, we also get to do something good for the community."
Blagg and Kenney say the food drive also gives students another opportunity to beef up on their mathematics skills before they take the CRCT exam in the spring.
"The woman at the food bank told me that they served more than 400 families last month," Kenney said. "When we set our goal at 3,700 items, it sounds like a lot. But when you consider how much need there is right here in Jefferson — you can imagine that the food bank’s supplies go down pretty quickly."