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HOMER-CENTER: Basket of Love reaches food collection goal

by JULIA BUGGEY, Gazette Student News Reporter on December 13, 2013 11:00 AM

HOMER CITY — Homer-Center High School held its annual “Basket of Love” collection about two weeks ago, proving to be as successful as it has always been in years past. Our students and staff set a goal every year for this collection and up to this point we’ve never fallen short; this year, we collected a little over our target goal of 1,500 items for those in need.

On the last day of the collection, student council officers and members helped gather and count the last of the items before delivering them. After speaking with senior high student council Vice President Emily Wiltrout, we can better understand the process of this generous donation and the satisfaction it brings. Emily, a junior at Homer-Center, has been involved with the “Basket of Love” for two years, yet this was her first year actually delivering the items to their destination.

She said, “First and foremost, all of the volunteers go around to all of the homerooms and collect the items. Mya Zemlock, junior high student council president, and I collected the total numbers. From there, all of the items are loaded onto cars and trucks to be taken to the Methodist Church on Main Street in Homer City. After the arrival, several students stayed to help sort all of the items and foods into different categories.”

Brandon Vought, also a junior and member of student council, said, “Mr. (Lou) Stepanik, Homer-Center’s English teacher and student council club adviser, is in charge of organizing the project. Once all of the items make their way to the church, volunteers from the Methodist Church then also help in sorting them and generously giving them to the community.”

We always have such a massive response to this collection from our students and the continuation of the project really seems to continue to make a difference in our community.

”After seeing all of the food that was donated and all of the people who were so willing to help, it made me realize how lucky I am to have what I do. There are many people all over the world and even in our community who don’t have as many privileges as others do. It warms my heart to be able to help with such an amazing cause and I can’t wait to help and be involved with this next year,” Wiltrout said.

We’d like to thank all of those who went out of their way to continuously help this cause by providing food items and a big thanks to these students who dedicated their time and help behind the scenes: Emily Wiltrout, senior high club vice president; Mya Zemlock, junior high club president; Courtnie Piper, junior high club vice president; and Veronica Manzanilla, Jesse Mack, Rick Orr, Aaron Berezansky, Logan Dellafiora, Ben Wolford, Shelby Ursiak, Chris Rura and Brandon Vought.

In addition, just this past Monday, Homer-Center’s junior and senior high choral choirs, under the direction of Joy Wilson, sang some of the classic and most cherished Christmas songs at their Christmas choral concert. The band performed their impressive pieces as well, directed by Jon Stolarz.

We send out a thank-you to all who made the concert possible and also to all who attended the cheery event.

For those who missed the concert or are looking to hear some more holiday music, the elementary school’s choral and band concert will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the high school auditorium.

This past week our students tested their knowledge with the Keystone tests. Not to mention, FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) club members also took their specific business-related tests.

The members of all FBLA organizations test for a chance to compete at the state level; our students will attend a luncheon in January at UPJ to see how they placed in their testing areas.

On a side note, the quiz bowl members are scheduled to compete Monday. We would like to wish good luck to both teams and all of the participants.

As the second-quarter interim reports are distributed and the Christmas season is just around the corner, Homer-Center will be busy participating in various holiday celebrations and events. Media Club and the seniors are currently selling candy canes and “Restaurant Days,” hosted by the seventh-grade class, will be occurring next week before Christmas break.

Next week is a busy one for Homer-Center as the Fitness Club will be hosting a volleyball tournament at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Teams can consist of six players or more, and we encourage our students to create their teams and come join in the fun.

On Dec. 20, our students and staff will go head to head at our annual Christmas pingpong tournament to kick off the beginning of break.

Homer-Center and surrounding schools will also be performing at the B.E. Taylor concert also on Dec. 20.

HC’s band will be performing at this event, which is to be held at the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex at IUP.

On an ending note, our winter dances will kick off the next day, Dec. 21, as students from seventh- to ninth-grade will be attending the junior high Christmas dance at the high school.

That just about highlights the recent news for Homer-Center over the past few weeks. Tune in next week for some more details about all of the upcoming holiday festivities that will be taking place.

[PHOTO: Students helped load up and deliver the items and donations with Homer-Center High School student council club adviser Lou Stepanik and the school custodians. In the front row, from left, are school custodian Ronald Pozik; students Chris Rura, Rick Orr and Jesse Mack; Stepanik; students Ben Wolford, Brandon Vought, Aaron Berezansky and Logan Dellafiora; and school custodian Leonard Black; second row, students Veronica Manzanilla, Shelby Ursiak, Mya Zemlock and Emily Wiltrout. (Submitted photo/Homer-Center High School)]

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