By Theresa D. McClellan
For the Fort Bend Star
With a community plan to raise hunger awareness, the sophomore and junior high school students from Stafford leaned over poster boards with a mission.
“Everyone is pitching in to make a mark on the world and that’s really good. You have to start small and they are getting us ready for college with volunteer opportunities,” said 16-year-old Chiamaka Nwagboso.
The sophomore said she enjoys the after-school college success program that targets sophomores and juniors.
“I’m very interested in being ready for college. It is better to start while young. You don’t want to get to senior year and not know what you are doing,” said Nwagboso.
So on a recent Monday afternoon, she worked with other sophomores who are targeting hunger awareness for their community project. The community project will help the students be aware of fellow students’ needs, teach them to network, collaborate, develop leadership skills and become advocates. As they prepared essays and conducted exams, this will be one more piece of information they can add to their scholarly resume showing community involvement.
It is often the first community service project they will put on their college resume, said the organizer.
Stafford is one of nine Houston area high schools and among three Fort Bend County high schools in the College Community Career (CCC) college success program. The other two are Willowridge and B.F. Terry.
This year all three schools, about 62 students, are bringing awareness to teen hunger.
“They often know teenagers sit at lunch and say they aren’t hungry because they are dieting, or they had a big breakfast, etc., but in reality, they don’t want to let people know they need food. This also leads to many social/emotional issues on campus because when you are hungry, students get angry or sleepy and just don’t perform your best. These three schools are all doing a canned food drive and then will donate the food to either their school food pantry or a food pantry close to their schools,” said Kathy Rose, executive director of CCC.
To make a difference, the students will urge their classmates through artwork to bring in canned goods. Students worked together in clusters creating the early images of their posters that will appear across the Stafford Municipal School District campus.
On the other side of the room, junior high school students worked on computers crafting their college essays and generating lists of pieces of information they would need to succeed in their college pursuit.
“There area lot of people in our own community who aren’t as fortunate as we are. This is a way to let them know they are not forgotten and they have a chance to have the stuff we have. Walking through the hallways, I see people who aren’t able to get everything and (those) whose parents are as privileged. Once we collect the food, we will take it to the Houston Food bank in Stafford. There are a lot of hungry people in the world,” said sophomore Courtney Reed who created a flier on the computer for the food drive.
The program starts with 10th grade first generation college students and follows them until they get a bachelors degree, said Rose.
As the class session neared its end, Stafford Principal Misti Morgan entered to look at their creations. She offered advice and admired their work. She said the program is good way for the students to gain skills, confidence and interact with the school staff.