Chief’s Challenge continues to help hurricane victims

Mackenzie White, Staff Writer

Chief’s Challenge Club has set out on one of their first projects of the year. The club has decided to set up events where the proceeds are going to help those victims of Hurricane Florence.

Chief’s Challenge was inspired to get involved after last year, where they also participated in activities to aid those affected by the last hurricane. Overall, they were able to raise $563, which will be donated to the hurricane relief centers.

“It has been such a joy watching this club evolve into such a viable resource for the school and community,” club advisor Mrs. Joanne Waters said. Mrs. Waters, a school social worker, has been the faculty adviser of the club for the last 11 years.

The next project that this club has in store is The Giving Tree. This project will begin getting ready right after Thanksgiving, and it will take place from December 5 to December 20.  

The Giving Tree is a project where a tree is put up in the lobby and decorated with angels that have names of families suggested by the Guidance and PPS Office. Teachers and staff can take an angel, buy a gift, wrap it, and then turn it in so it can be donated.

The goal of this project is “…to give joy to the families who are in need and take the pressure off of them that we all feel during the holiday season,” Mrs. Waters said. It has been a great success throughout the school, with all the gifts each year averaging about $2,500.

Chief’s Challenge Club is also doing a new project for Thanksgiving. The club will be collecting assorted items such as canned goods, snacks, desserts, gift cards, and more which will be collected and put into Thanksgiving baskets. These baskets will be delivered to those families in need around our community.

Additionally, the club is beginning a project about the vaping epidemic that has been happening all around the community. The “Massapequa Takes Action Coalition” has joined together with the club to bring more awareness to the vaping issue. The “Great American Smokeout” takes place on November 15, so posters will be put up all around the school and an announcement will be made to the school as well.

Throughout the rest of the year, this club has many more projects in store for the school. In December, members of the club will be taking part in the YES Community Center’s “Breakfast with Santa.” Members dress up in fun costumes and serve breakfast to local families in the community. Also, they bring food items to be donated, help the children pick out presents, play games and do fun face painting with them.

One of Mrs. Waters’s favorite projects is the “HOOPS for HOPE” project, an annual three on three basketball tournament. The project is to commemorate Jacob Brice, a Massapequa High School student who passed away while he was in his senior year. Each year, the event earns an average of $3,000 which is donated to the Jacob Brice Foundation. This foundation awards seniors at Massapequa High School with scholarships.  

The club also has a project that reaches more than just the students at the main campus. Each year the club joins together with students involved in the drama class and produces a play or skit that brings attention to a lot of the issues that teens are facing today. Some of the topics may include mental illness, substance and alcohol use/abuse, family issues such as divorce and death, gender identity, and bullying.

The drama students write, direct, and produce the entire play and the Chief’s Challenge students help wherever they are needed. Last year, the play was videotaped and played for the students at Ames during their health classes. Students from Chief’s Challenge even had the opportunity to go to Ames and discuss the video with the students. Students are able to express their thoughts and feelings on the video and were able to share their own personal experiences.

Another one of Mrs. Waters’s favorite projects occurred last year. The club decided that they were going to write a book about the new buddy benches. Buddy benches are for students who are alone during recess at the elementary schools and when students see another student sitting at one, they know to involve the student in their activity.

Last year, the club teamed up with Mrs. Schneider’s art class and wrote a book called On My Way to the Koda Bench. The book is about friendships to go along with the buddy benches that Mrs. Schneider’s class built with Mr. DeSantis, a technology teacher in the district. The benches were placed at the elementary schools, specifically in the playground areas. The books were sold to people around the community and all of the profits were donated to the YES Community Counseling Center. They use the money to create more programs that teach anti-bullying to schools.

This unique project has made a positive impact on the students, especially those in elementary school.

Overall, Chief’s Challenge is a pivotal club in the school and in the community. “The best part of the club is that the students are kind, generous, caring and always willing to help with anything that they are asked to do,” Mrs. Waters said. “We have a lot of fun.”

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