The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



Day 6: Day of service


By Shrija Krishnan, Vivian Peng, Madeline Pulliam and Juliana Yao, Staff Reporters and Co-Sports Editor

As friends and families get into the holiday spirit, some groups of students and staff have or are planning ways to help the community. Read more about three donation drives run by Student Council, Key Club and New/Gen, respectively.

Student Council holds annual Toys for Tots Drive

By Madeline Pulliam, Staff Reporter

This year, collection bins in the main lobby were overflowing with unwrapped toys. Conestoga’s Toys for Tots Drive, run by Student Council, called for unwrapped toy donations from Nov. 14 to Dec. 4. The annual drive has provided hundreds of toys to the Toys for Tots Foundation over the years and helped many families during the holiday season.

The U.S. Marine Corps runs the foundation, which aims to give new toys and messages of hope to less fortunate children across the country during the winter season. The non-profit charity started in 1991 and has been consistently giving out presents ever since.

“I think giving back to the community is a really important thing that all schools and businesses should do. It’s really important to know your community and give back,” said Student Council junior class president Ayan Kumar.

After students donated, Student Council put the toys into vans that were driven to a CubeSmart building in order to store them. From there, the Tots for Tots Foundation distributes the toys to families in need.

“It shows holiday spirit by providing gifts to those that may not be able to have them and these kids are getting these gifts for the holidays,” Kumar said.

For many students, such as junior Caroline Morrissey, donating to the drive is a way to help kids around the country and serves as a chance to give back for the holidays. 

“When I was younger, my favorite thing about the holidays was when my parents would give me gifts,” Morrissey said. “I wanted to give back to the community and kids all around the country and make them feel loved and appreciated.”

T&E Care Holiday Drive provides for local families

By Juliana Yao, Co-Sports Editor

Each year, T&E Care, an organization providing financial and material assistance to people in need, coordinates a holiday drive during November and December for underprivileged families in the area. From Nov. 9 to Dec. 1 this year, T&E Care received items from many local schools and organizations, with Conestoga being a significant donor. 

In October, families filled out wish lists of items that school-teams and clubs sought to fulfill through collecting donations during the following month. 

Key Club, a long-time supporter of the drive, encouraged members to donate toiletry and food items this year. Adviser Allison Long believes that the club’s participation in the drive was important to increase the support and donations for the cause.

“I do find it sad sometimes that when we do have schoolwide drives, they don’t get a lot of spirit behind them,” Long said. “So having Key Club be a part of this is also helping the initiative itself. I just think that it’s important that we as a club try to ignite a little bit of that spirit and support our community.”

Other items that T&E Care received included gift cards, financial support, gifts and bags. While some of the donations fell outside the commonly considered scope of necessities, Long still advocates for their value to the recipient families.

“Those are things that some people might not see as essentials,” Long said. “Not everybody needs snacks, right? But they are things that are grab-and-go and make things a little more comfortable for folks who might otherwise give up on them.”

Junior Cindy Wang, a school committee chair for Key Club, helped organize efforts to encourage club members to donate and emphasizes the positive impact of such drives.

“I think that these drives are important because they help our community,” Wang said. “There are so many ways to give back to our community, and this is one of the easiest ways we can do so.”

New/Gen organizes drive for local women’s shelter

By Shrija Krishnan and Vivian Peng, Staff Reporters

Women’s advocacy club New/Gen plans to run a drive collecting feminine hygiene products from Jan. 8-22 next year. The club will donate all items to the Home of the Sparrow, a women’s shelter which aims to secure housing and long-term stability for homeless women and children in Chester County. 

The club is looking for supplies such as body wash, deodorant and menstrual products. Although the club previously organized a drive for the Home of the Sparrow in February last year, members decided to host the fundraiser a month earlier this year.

“We want to get (the drive) done a lot earlier just because we have other projects coming up. My goal for the year was really to get more people involved — I am happy that we have had more members interested in the club,” club president Jordan Jacoel said. “We all need a feminist club in this environment. I think in the upcoming years New/Gen will have a lot more of a presence, which I’m excited for.”

The drive for Home of the Sparrow closely aligns with New/Gen’s agenda to bring awareness to women’s issues in the school community. In the past, the club has been responsible for initiatives ranging from free menstrual products in women’s bathrooms to publishing the New/Gen magazine, a feminist periodical which details current women’s issues. 

Teacher Alice Debu has been advising New/Gen since the onset of the pandemic and believes members are highly organized and communicate well when planning fundraisers. 

Debu said that the club covers a wide span of women’s issues and the board lets members decide which ones to focus on. She hopes more students become aware of the club in the future.

“As a woman myself, I feel like a lot of times our issues take second place. I think that you have a voice, and there’s always a group for you that will listen and help you and give you tools for the future,” Debu said. “You have a voice. You have the power.” 

Shrija Krishnan can be reached at [email protected].

Vivian Peng can be reached at [email protected].

Madeline Pulliam can be reached at [email protected].

Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Shrija Krishnan
Shrija Krishnan, Business Manager
Shrija Krishnan is a junior and Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She covers local news and community events. Outside of the newsroom, she is a member of the Greening ’Stoga Taskforce.
Vivian Peng
Vivian Peng, Staff Reporter
Vivian Peng is a sophomore and a Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She has covered news stories and sports games in the past. She’s a member of Conestoga Science Olympiad and likes to paint in her free time.
Juliana Yao
Juliana Yao, Co-Opinion Editor
Juliana Yao is a junior and the Co-Sports Editor of The Spoke. She was previously a Staff Reporter and often writes for the Sports and Opinion sections. Aside from The Spoke, she is a member of the varsity girls’ swim team. As a sports editor, she oversees the writing and journalistic process of reporters in her section.