Rockwood Summit High
social studies teacher and wrestling coach Brent Batcheller has six printer boxes stuffed to the brim with supplies in his office. Two boxes each are reserved for three former Falcons wrestlers – John Bantle, Sam Frankowski and Tim Larrigan – who are serving in the military overseas.
All of the items are donated.
"It's just something nice that we can do for our kids who have done so much for us," Batcheller said. "When they were in high school, they did so much for the younger kids. Now that they're serving their country, it's magnified. Those who serve us, now it's our turn to take care of you."
This is the third time in the past four years Batcheller has organized a holiday donation drive for former wrestlers who are in the police or military. Last year, the donations went to local police and fire stations.
The donations range from snacks, Chapstick and other toiletries to more alumnus-specific needs. The boxes for the fair-skinned Larrigan, for example, include sunblock and bug spray for use where he's stationed with the Marines in Okinawa, Japan. Bantle is a U.S. Navy ensign assigned to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Frankowski graduated last year from the Naval Academy.
Each care package will get to its recipient early next year and includes thank-you notes from wrestlers and other members of the Rockwood Summit community. Captains Christian Anderson, Ty Brunk, Michael Fanz and Addie Wilhelm have been organizing segments of the boys and girls teams to collect donations for each alumnus.
"It's the least we can do, really," Batcheller said.
Other Rockwood schools have also gotten into the giving spirit during the holiday season:
-- Crestview Middle, Early Childhood Education, Eureka High, Ridge Meadows Elementary and Wildwood Middle are among the schools undertaking "adopt-a-family" efforts to support families in their school communities. Early Childhood is holding adopt-a-family gift collections at each of its locations, and Eureka teacher Kim Amin and her students are holding a stuffed animal collection. Eureka High is serving 25 families totaling more than 100 people, and Crestview held a coin drive to raise nearly $2,000 for eight families, along with gift donations.
-- Lafayette High held "Cheer for Charity," in which more than 20 cheer teams in the community performed to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, and collected more than 19,000 cans of food during its annual drive to benefit Circle of Concern. The sophomore class is also in the middle of "Gifts for Glennon," taking toy donations to be sent to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital.
-- A group of Stanton Elementary students collected more than 300 new and used books to donate to St. Louis Children's Hospital, and two other students collected hats, gloves, socks and canned goods to donate to the Rockwood Got Your Back Pack program and the clothing boutique at Uthoff Valley Elementary.
-- Rockwood South Middle students in a Business Launch class sold hot chocolate to classmates, teachers and staff members the mornings of Dec. 19-20, with portions of the proceeds going to the school's food pantry.
-- Uthoff Valley is in the midst of its third annual sock drive for the homeless, which ran through Dec. 19.
-- The Bowles Elementary Fourth-Grade Action Team and physical education teachers teamed up for a donation drive for the dogs and cats at Stray Rescue of St. Louis.
-- A Business Management class at Rockwood Summit purchased 2,300 food items and donated 578 meals to Circle of Concern, donating one meal for every T-shirt the class sold through its T-shirt order business. Summit Student Council is also conducting a food drive during the holiday season.