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Students help those in need at fourth annual Turkey Trot

Date: 12/3/2008

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

SOUTHWICK Since early November, students at Powder Mill Middle School have dedicated their efforts toward supplementing the recent shortages at their local food pantry.

The School Spirit Club has collected 800 pounds of canned goods toward their goal of 2,000 pounds by the end of the academic year. On Nov. 25, over 150 students, faculty and staff participated in the fourth annual one-mile Turkey Trot to benefit the Greater Southwick Family Support Coalition's food pantry. Each participant was required to make a monetary or canned good donation in order to qualify for the race.

"We are really proud [of our students]," Charles Joyal, assistant principal at Powder Mill Middle School, told Reminder Publications. "They've really stepped up and brought more than the two [cans] required [to enter the Turkey Trot]."

Susan Barnett, a fifth grade teacher and advisor of the School Spirit Club, explained that the club wanted to give back to the community that supports their school so heartily.

"At this age especially they have a really giving spirit. They want to give back," she said.

Seventh grader Paige Cool ran a competitive race in her gold soccer cleats with her iPod thumping in her ears as she crossed the finish line in second place overall and first place among the girls.

She said she participates in the race each year in order to give back to the food pantry and also because she "loves to run." Cool added that she hopes to join the district's cross-country team next year.

First place finisher and eighth grader Andrae Campbell said he participates in the Turkey Trot each year "just for fun" and also to beat his previous year's finish. He noted that prior to the 2008 race his fastest finish earned him seventh place.

Joyal explained that each year the top male and female finishers receive a Thanksgiving turkey courtesy of Stop & Shop, while other students receive a variety of prizes including DARE T-shirts, jump ropes, calculators and other prizes associated with physical fitness and education.

Barnett noted that the School Spirit Club's canned food drive will continue until the winter break in December and then resume in late spring.