Friday, January 22, 2021

Windham High Honors Society bottle drive boosts scholarship funds

By Daniel Gray

New Year’s Day this year was a special occasion for many globally. It's the start of a new beginning while the negatives of 2020 are sent off. On Jan. 1, many were celebrating in their own unique ways and Windham High School's Honors Society had their own special way to celebrate 2021 as well.

The Windham High School Honors Society is a group of well-rounded teenagers who are dedicated to better helping the community and individuals in it. Every year, they sell beautiful poinsettias during the holidays to raise funds for scholarships for selected classmates, and this year was no different. They sold their poinsettias but felt like there needed to be an addition.

Holden Anderson, the president of the Honors Society and a WHS senior, came up with the idea of creating an additional bottle drive to further raise scholarship funds.

Anderson played hockey in middle school and back then as a fundraiser, the team would go door to door after New Year's asking if people wanted to donate their empty bottles. Thinking back on this, Anderson brought up the idea to try something similar, but conducted at the high school.

His idea took off and soon the Honors Society vice president, Chloe Allen, was announcing it online to bring more attention to the event.

Asking why she promoted the event online on Facebook, Allen said she posted it on the Windham Maine Community Board Page because she though it would help significantly.

“I felt that we have a great community, and that the Windham residents would come help out our group,” Allen said. “I have been a part of the community board for a decent amount of time and knew how many people were in the group. I just knew that we have such a good community that would hear our call for help."

Their group leader and WHS history teacher, Brandon Champion, helped arrange everything and made sure everyone was safe, was practicing social distancing and not overwhelmed by the amount and sheer numbers of the glass bottles they were collecting.

During the drive itself, Champion drove back and forth to Patman's Redemption Center to help create space within the area they were working at the high school. 

They group collected numerous bottles, but their efforts were well worth it, Champion said. All told, the Honors Society earned a total of $550 through the bottle drive that will go toward college scholarships for WHS students.

Everyone connected to the bottle drive said that they were amazed when the news was broken of just how much they had earned through the initiative, especially the honor's society leaders. 

"I had no clue that we would get that much money, I thought $100 would be the maximum amount,” Allen said. “But everyone had bottles to give it seems, and a lot of people heard about our event."

Anderson agreed and said he was grateful to everyone who participated either by volunteering to help or for those who were willing to donate bottles to the effort.

“It's definitely a great feeling and I'm glad I was able to be part of the process,” he said. “College obviously isn't cheap, so even that amount can go a long way in helping a peer have the best experience possible in college."

The Windham High School Honors Society has some more plans for 2021 to do further community work and fundraisers for college scholarships and Anderson said that they will announce those initiatives to the community prior to them being conducted. <

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