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INDIANA: Students trick-or-treat so others can eat

by LORRAINE YERGER, Gazette Student News Reporter on November 01, 2013 11:00 AM

Thursday night during Indiana’s local trick-or-treating festivities, community members had their homes visited by a variety of princesses, ghouls, cowboys — and Indiana Area Senior High School drama students.

These charitable students participated in the fundraiser Trick-or-Treat So Kids Can Eat, during which they dressed in costume and trick-or-treated door-to-door, asking for nonperishable food items instead of candy.

The fundraiser occurs every fall and is organized by the International Thespian Society.

[Read the full roundup of area high school news from the Gazette's network of student news reporters on Fridays in The Indiana Gazette and in the Student News section on The Indiana Gazette Online.]

Thousands of pounds of food are collected in a single night as kids in drama programs statewide participate.

Student participation in this community service program was organized by Leah Lyons, the new English teacher and drama instructor at the senior high.

“As a new teacher at IHS it has been a joy to see my officers take the reins of this project and lead their peers in a charitable and fun event. I am also excited to involve our school community as the SENDRACS students trick-or-treat door to door for donations,” said Lyons.

Although Indiana has participated in years past, the 2013 fundraiser incorporated a new feature.

Collections also took place during school, with drama students visiting classrooms during 10th period to remind students to donate canned or nonperishable food items.

This implementation not only increased the number of donations, but also student awareness of the fundraiser.

“It really helps a lot of people through the Zion Lutheran Church food pantry. It feels nice knowing that people in the community will not go hungry. Most people don’t see that side of our community,” said drama student Ashley Wolfe.

Senior Paul Kane serves as the president of SENDRACS Club and has taken a leadership role in organizing this event.

“I’ve watched several proud alumni lead the Trick-or-Treat So Kids Can Eat effort before and I can safely say that I have some very big shoes to fill. However, I’m both honored and excited to lead such a time-honored tradition of the club,” said Kane.

Lyons plans to have her thespian troupe expand upon the charity activities of years past, making this year’s goal “Acting Out,” an initiative which will promote community outreach through the dramatic arts.

“I think Trick-or-Treat (So Kids Can Eat) is a really fun way for IHS to help the community and it’s a blast working with Mrs. Lyons and the other SENDRACS officers to coordinate it,” said drama student Tori Meyer.

Using Trick-or-Treat So Kids Can Eat as a precursor to other fundraisers, the IHS drama department wants to pair every show with a charity event.

For example, their first play will be accompanied by an ornament sale, through which students can purchase a decoration to hang on the school’s Teddy Bear Fund Drive tree.

Community members interested in seeing the drama program’s first production of the year can purchase tickets in advance at the school or to the high school auditorium on Nov. 15 and 16 to watch their performance of a radio play version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

PHOTO:  Drama students, from left, Paul Kane, Ashley Wolfe, Carlee Benhart and Jordan Lamar went from classroom to classroom at Indiana Area Senior High School to encourage participation in the Trick-or-Treat So Kids Can Eat program.  (Leah Lyons/Indiana Area Senior High School)


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