Wading River School’s Character Counts committee has been organizing
holiday food drives to benefit local churches, veteran groups and food
pantries for numerous years. The theme of this year’s food drive was
inspired by a children’s book author visit to the school, Kathryn Otoshi
and her book Beautiful Hands.
During her visit, students at Wading River School pledged to do
something beautiful with their hands. They used the pledge to encourage
students to decorate a box and fill it with nonperishable food items and
toiletries for the local food pantries.
To build momentum and add an element of excitement to the food drive, a
competition component was added. For two weeks, each grade level
competed against one another to determine which one collected the most
boxes of food – the fifth grade students were declared the victors.
Additionally, a contest was held for the best decorated box in each
grade. Congratulations to third grader Jasmine Macias, fourth grader
Sean Logan and fifth grader Jocelyn Kavanaugh for this achievement!
The successful food drive culminated in donations to local churches St.
Mark’s, St. Anselm’s, St. John’s the Baptist and the Wading River
Congregational Church. Each church received approximately 36 boxes of
“Students were so inspired by Kathryn Otoshi’s story and took to heart
her motivating words of planting ideas, stretching their imaginations
and reaching for dreams,” said reading teacher Kelly Toole, who works
with reading teacher Tracy O’Lear, school psychologist Patricia Aretakis
and math teacher Mark Vallina guiding the positive character traits in
the schools’ students. “We are so proud of their reading efforts and