Lt. Bryan, Herman Allen (shelter director) and Esther Ellison speaking to a 3rd grade class at Central Elementary School in Roxana.Students at Central Elementary School in Roxana donated canned foods as part of their annual food drive in support of the Salvation Army Food Shelf last December. In return, The Salvation Army hosted a “Lunch with the Lieutenant” at the school Friday, Jan. 30.

Several Salvation Army representatives spoke with the students, congratulating them on a job well done. During the visit, the visitors shared with the students how important it is to give and the difference they can make at a young age.

Mrs. Bullock, 3rd grade teacher at Central Elementary with Salvation Army Caswewroker Holly Allen.The school raised over 3,000 canned goods over the course of the drive. Compared to other schools in the area, Central Elementary stood out above the rest.

“The Salvation Army told us that we are one of the top contributors in the area,” said Jim Miller, Principal at Central Elementary. “We truly have a group of kids that care about other people, and at such a young age, that is just wonderful.”

The students have several campaigns and fundraisers throughout the year that allows them to build good character, give back to the community and make a difference at a young age.

“That’s the kind of kids we have here,” said Miller. “They are always thinking about somebody else. They don’t make it about themselves and they really take pride in their jobs of service.”

Miller believes that these types of accomplishments that rise from teamwork and dedication instill good morals and character for the future of the students.

Reagan Lynn, 8, stands in her classroom with her teacher, Mrs. Gates, at Central Elementary School“They are the movers and shakers of the future, this is what leadership is all about,” said Miller. “Leadership is not about holding a position of power, it is about serving others. It’s not about yourself, it’s about what you can do for others."

Reagan Lynn, 8, was the top contributor of the food drive, donating over 240 cans of food. Reagan says helping other makes her feel happy.

“Right now were saving money for St. Jude’s because there are people that can’t buy medicine very easily,” said Lynn. “I started saving up for St. Jude when I was 6 and I am 8 right now. I draw pictures for my family and they give me money so I can save more."

Central Elementary recently kicked off their St. Jude’s Math-A-Thon Fundraiser that raises funds for childhood cancer patients and their families. According to stjude.org, the math-a-thon is America’s largest education-based fundraiser.

“The kid’s love to be able to give to others, I think it’s fabulous,” said Mrs. Gates, a 3rd grade teacher at Central Elementary. “I think these experiences are a reminder that life it not just all about them. It is about others and how they can serve others.”

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To contact Brittany Kohler for future events or story ideas, e-mail brittany@riverbender.com or call (618) 465-9850 ext. 237. Follow her on Twitter @KohlerJo.

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