To help celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary, Deerfield-Windsor School elementary students collected more than 50 bags of cat food to donate to the Albany Humane Society as part of Project 50/50. Pictured from left are Bridger Shoemaker, Matt Stafford, Shep Willis, Daymon Polite, Albany Humane Society representative Tara Miller, Wright Strickland, Connor Smith, Ella Kay Lane, Anna Lane Pierce and Katy Goodpasture. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — As part of the school’s 50th anniversary, Deerfield-Windsor School elementary students did their part to give back to the community that has supported the school since it’s inception.
Students, faculty, parents and representatives from several non-profit agencies gathered at the lower school auditorium Monday, the 50th day of the school year, to receive donations generated by the school’s Project 50/50.
The project’s purpose was to help the school celebrate half a century in Albany by having each grade level design a fundraising project to benefit a community agency of their choice.
“Part of our mission statement is to help our students develop a sense of social responsibility,” said lower school Director Cary Stoudenmire. “This project was created as a way to celebrate DWS’s 50th year by giving back to the community that has supported us since our school began.”
According to Stoudenmire, as the anniversary approached, officials and alumni held brainstorming sessions trying to find the best way to celebrate the milestone. After considering a multitude of options, including having a party, Deerfield-Windsor class of 1975 alumnus and former third-grade teacher Mariruth Whittle Thomas came up with the idea of doing a service project.
Out of her idea came Project 50/50, a school-wide initiative to reach out to the community while also allowing students to get involved in the community.
“Because of her association with the lower school, Mariruth knew that doing a service project would be a very appropriate way for us to celebrate,” said Stoudenmire.
School Headmaster Dave Davies echoed those sentiments, saying that the students doing community service not only benefited the school and the different agencies, but also the students.
“What better way to celebrate 50 years than to do 50 things for others?” Davies said. “When you give to somebody else, that’s when you really feel best. We are so proud of these students.”
Student representatives took turns at the podium presenting donations to each organization. One kindergarten class collected more than 50 books to donate to the Dougherty County Family Literacy Center, while the other kindergarten class held a “Laps of Love” walkathon that has raised more than $2,000 for the Flint RiverQuarium.
The first grade collected hats and gloves for Mission Change to distribute to the homeless. The second grade collected food items to use Chehaw’s Animal Enrichment program. The third grade hosted a ’50s sock hop to raise $1,440 for the Albany Advocacy Resource Center. The fourth grade collected more than 50 bags of cat food for the Albany Humane Society. Finally, the fifth grade collected more than 50 toiletry items for the residents of GraceWay Recovery Residence for Women.