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High School Students SponsorThanksgiving Food Drive

Students continue 40-year legacy

December 3, 2013

Monticello High School carried out a more than 40 year tradition on a snowy Tuesday morning, Nov 26, 2013 with the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive assembly. More than 1,200 items to make up holiday meal food baskets for 100 families were displayed on stage in rows and pyramids so that students could see the evidence of their generosity over the past three weeks of homeroom collections. Speakers at the assembly included HS Principal Lori Orestano-James, United Way COO Kaytee Warren and Food Drive Chairpeople Seniors Megan Owens and Dustin Thomas.

Ms. Orestano-James spoke of her remembrances of the impact of the Food drive and ensured the students that they do make a difference and that people are appreciative. Ms. Warren explained the impact they make in the community and how very much their efforts are needed. She encouraged the students to continue to behave in a manner consistent with the first Thanksgiving and reach out to their neighbors. Ms. Warren also presented plaques of appreciation to Ms. Orestano-James on behalf of the administration, faculty and students at the high school and to Beth Isaf-Lauri, the 27 year advisor to the Thanksgiving Food Drive and Holiday Toy Drive. The United Way has partnered with Monticello High School for 25 years in this effort, first and for many years under the leadership of Linda Cellini, and most recently under the leadership of Ms. Warren. Further demonstrating the school community partnership is that the person Mrs. Lauri deals with most directly at the United Way is Julian Dawson, a 1999 MHS alumni and Food Drive participant in his high school days at Monticello.

Drive Chairs Owens and Thomas spoke to the gathered students and staff and explained what their efforts had brought about, announced winning homerooms and encouraged the students to start thinking about the Holiday Toy Drive as collections for that will begin as soon as classes resume on December 2nd. In three weeks of collections the homerooms raised $3340.89. Additional donations brought the total raised to just over $3700.00. The Juniors were the champions with $1537.20 of that total. The Sophomore class raised $826.47, the Senior Class $489.47 and the Freshman class $487.75.

Top homerooms in each grade were:
Grade 9: Ms. Hazelnis/Mr. Russo $200.16
Grade 10: Mr. Powers/Ms. Caruso $296.96
Grade 11: Ms. Joyce-Turner $545.29
Grade 12: Mr. Gross/Ms. Keesler $120.04

The winning homerooms get a box of blowpops and a bagel breakfast. The overall winning homeroom gets a breakfast cooked by Principal Orestano-James and Assistant Principals Ginny Morse and Chris Palmer.

Anyone who would like to make a contribution to this year’s Holiday Toy Drive can contact Mrs. Lauri at MHS via email at or at (845) 794-8840 ext 10213. Donations are accepted year round to provide a fund that helps supplement each year’s drives.