May 27 • 12:12 PM

Students model spirit of season

December 15, 2010
DRYDEN — The U.S. Marine Corps sought a few good men and women, and scores showed up at Dryden High School.

Students cluster around Marine Sgt. Curtis Slagle during visit to Dryden High School on Thursday. photo by Tom Wearing.

In recent weeks, the high school's Student Council sponsored a toy collection drive, with all items being donated to the Marine's annual Toys For Tots program.

On Dec. 9, Marine Sgt. Curtis Slagle and Staff Sgt. Jeremy Goss visited the school, where they collected more than 500 toys slated for delivery to local children whose families are experiencing hardship. Also on hand was future Marine Tom DePew of Almont, who will be going to boot camp in March.

High school teacher and Student Council Advisor Gari Hotton praised the Marines and students for their shared efforts on behalf of children in need.

"These students were amazing," said Hotton. "They all got into the giving end of it. It warms your heart to see young people get involved."

In addition to the Toys For Tots drive, the entire 7th-12th-grade student body took part in a "coin drive" to raise money for the Linked Hearts Food Bank of Dryden.

Located in the historic Milliken Building in downtown Dryden, Linked Hearts assists single parents, the jobless, elderly, veterans seeking work and families struggling to make ends meet.

Hotton credited fellow teacher Sheryl Czerwinski and high school junior Zack Smith for inspiring students to join in the coin drive.

"Zack was a real leader," said Hotton. "He got everybody pumped up and raised $220 by himself."

All told, Dryden students collected $984 designated for local residents who seek help through Linked Hearts.

"I think it's pretty incredible," said Hotton, "that in a school of fewer than 400 kids we can get this kind of support for these causes. They went above and beyond."

School Principal Richard Duffy was equally impressed with the students' efforts.

"These kids are a microcosm of the community," Duffy said. "When something needs to get done, they all jump on board. It's an example of what people in a small town can do. We're very proud of all of them."

The Linked Hearts Food Bank is located at 5595 E. Main St. The food bank is open Mondays from noon-4 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Linked Hearts provides referral services, food, toiletries and diapers. Required criteria is that you must be a Dryden resident and provide proof of residency.

For more information or to make a donation, call 810-796-3407.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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