Teachers at Cedar Ridge High School have taken a philanthropic approach to the district’s project-based learning initiative by working with students to create an in-school clothing and food bank.
The Raider Locker was started by professional communications teacher Kristi Mitchell, who mirrored the project off Georgetown High School’s Eagle Locker with permission from the organizers.
“We have so many students that just need additional help to keep them focused on their academics and keep their mind off the struggles of getting new clothes or food,” Mitchell said. “Keeping in mind the baggage that the students carry emotionally every day, if we can help them out so they can focus and graduate from high school, that’s more important for me than coming up with an academic school project.”
The service is in a locked area of the office and is available to any student at the high school that needs assistance. Students do not have to be identified as economically disadvantaged before using the service and there is no sign-in or sign-out record required to see what each student took.
Along with clothing and food items, there are also toiletries and school supplies available to students in need.
Mitchell recruited teachers from various departments to participate in the project, which she hopes will spread to all five district high schools. Mitchell’s PALS class was responsible for writing donation letters, organizing the donations and keeping an inventory while other department students took on the logo design, donation boxes and a website.
Construction students in Neil Little’s class built multiple shelving and cabinet units to store the food and clothing for the Raider Locker.
As the service expands, the students will build cabinets for various purposes, including a large wardrobe to display formal dresses and accessories for prom.
“Knowing that their work directly benefits the community has been meaningful for our students,” Little said. “It especially hits home to the students when they go to readjust the cabinets and take new measurements. That’s when they see that their shelving and cabinets are being used. The kids always amaze me with their abilities.”