Mountaintop Elementary students learn about giving

ROSE HOOVER/FOR THE EXPRESS These fifth grade Mountaintop Elementary students are getting ready to deliver gifts to the Mountaintop Senior Center. Pictured, from left, are Donovan Surovec, Jaden McKinley, Croix McCullough, Sena Andrews and Sydney Thompson. The students are wearing their pajamas because it’s “Snowed-In Thursday” — part of a week-long positive behavior celebration.

WINGATE — For the past three Decembers, students and staff at the Mountaintop Elementary School in the Bald Eagle Area School District have been collecting donations to give to local organizations, in place of a gift exchange. The staff decides what organization will receive the donation each year.

The Jared Box Project, PAWS and the SPCA, and the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey have all been recipients. This year’s idea for giving came from Mountaintop principal Mary Beth Crago, who wanted to give back to the Mountaintop community.

Crago proposed the idea of giving needed items to the nearby Mountaintop Senior Center.

Mountaintop Elementary first-grade teacher Courtney Schall, who is also the school’s Schoolwide Coach and organizes positive behavior activities, says, “The idea of giving originally came from one of our students, and we have been doing it ever since.”

Schall says the goal is to teach the students about giving.

Schall contacted Sandy Repasky, manager of the Snow Shoe Senior Resource Center, about the Giving Project. Schall says that Repasky was “thrilled” about the project, and related that the senior citizens play rounds of Bingo on Tuesdays. The prizes are items seniors can use in their homes – a way of mixing fun and allowing them to obtain useful items at a low cost. Household items, to be used as bingo prizes, would be a welcome gift to the center.

In December, Schall distributed a list of needed items to the students and staff at Mountaintop Elementary.

Donations started pouring in, including two hand-crocheted hats and lap blankets. Paper products like tissues, paper towels, and toilet paper; toothbrushes, deodorant, and soap filled the donation boxes. Gloves, hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, candles, lotion, and Band-Aids were donated, along with food items, such as snacks, soups, puddings, and pasta side packets.

At the end of the project, there were over 350 items collected, including 19 fleece blankets. Enough to give one to every senior who comes to the center. First-grade students made ornaments, which were attached to the fronts of each blanket.

On Thursday morning, December 21, the items were loaded onto the back of a pickup truck for delivery. Fifth-grade students made the short walk to the center to help unload the items.

Before leaving the center, the students sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” to the happy seniors. Schall assured Repasky that she would come back to the center, after school was dismissed, to help her sort and put away the many items.

Although Schall organizes the giving project, she says the entire Mountaintop staff and student body help make it happen, saying, “We are so blessed by our community. We are small, but our hearts are very giving to those who need it.”


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