• Dec. 13, 2018

    Boyce students brighten the holidays for other kids

    Boyce Friendship Boxes Fifth and sixth graders at Boyce Middle School in the Upper St. Clair School District filled a delivery truck with more than 600 brightly wrapped care packages for needy children. On Thursday, Dec. 13, packages made their way from one end of the school, traversing through hallways and the cafeteria, to emerge at the other end of the building and out the door via an assembly line of 615 eager students.

    “Projects like this provide our students with the opportunity to help kids that are less fortunate than them,” Principal Dan O’Rourke said. “They are so excited to help others, and it fits perfectly with our theme this year – Educating the Mind, Inspiring the Heart.”

    A Boyce tradition for more than 20 years, the Friendship Shoebox project asks students to fill a shoebox with small gifts to brighten the holidays for another child. Suggestions for filling the shoebox include personal care items; a small item of clothing; an activity, book, cards or small game; and a treat such as gum, lollipops or other candy. The gift-wrapped shoeboxes are delivered to children in Washington County through MERAKEY, formerly Northwestern Human Services.

    The Friendship Shoebox project is organized by the school’s counselors, Amy Antonio and Tonia Autieri.

    “We try to focus on community service projects throughout the year, but the friendship shoebox project is one of our two big outreach projects,” Mrs. Antonio said. “It provides a great opportunity for our students to experience the joy in helping others.”

    Ultimately, school officials hope that these community service projects help to instill empathy and a willingness to lend a hand to those in need.

    “Our hope is that students gain an understanding that it is important to be selfless and to help others. We want them to recognize that there are folks in the community that need our assistance, not only during the holidays, but at all times,” Mr. O’Rourke said. “Students frequently come to me with ideas they have to help others, and, as a principal, it is so rewarding to have those conversations with students that are 10-12 years old.”

    This school year Boyce Middle School students have participated in a variety of community service projects. Students donated extra money during the book fair in order to send supplies along with handmade cards to an elementary school affected by Hurricane Michael. In addition, students donated Halloween candy to local nursing homes and fire stations and sent 12 care packages to Boyce friends and family members serving in the armed forces overseas.