Students make blankets

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, January 18, 2017
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Two clubs within the West Liberty Community School District are using charity to bridge that awkward gap between middle school and high school.

Interact, the Rotary-sponsored high school all-around doers of good, and the Middle School Student Council, another charitable group in its own right, made blankets.

Specifically, they spent several hours Monday, Jan. 16, spread across the floor in the middle school library working, a day when most other students were at home.

“We brought enough here to make 20 blankets for the University of Iowa Hospitals,” explained Morgan Nichols, senior and president of the Interact Club.

“We teamed up with the middle school student council to do a project on MLK day last year and we didn’t have enough for them to do,” she added.

Last year the Interact Club and the Middle School Student Council worked together to help the nonprofit organization Kids Against Hunger, but there were too many kids and not enough jobs.

This year the Interact Club upped the ante, providing enough materials so both groups could work together and make 20 ‘tie’ blankets.

Tie blankets involve taking two large pieces of fleece, laying them on top of each other and tying the edges together. It’s a great, simple craft project that makes a warm and comfortable dual layered blanket.

“It’s great, I think it expands what we can do because there are more of us,” said teacher and student council organizer Dan Stevenson about the two clubs working together.

The Middle School Student Council just finished up a food drive during the holidays and is also involved with the town clean up. The group of young volunteers does a lot for West Liberty.

On the other side you have the Interact Club, which specializes in charity work. Last year they picked out 20 stars from the Star Tree Project and helped with Christmas Box distribution.

Last fall, the club offered to do yard work for free, including raking leaves and moving heavy objects. They plan to hold a similar Spring cleaning/yard pick up event in a few months.

However, the Interact Club’s involvement with the middle school goes beyond the student council. For the first time last March the relatively young club held an 8th grade dance.

More than three quarters of the eighth grade class attended the dance, both held in the high school and meant to get them acquainted with high school.

The Interact Club plans to do it again this March as a way to ease the transition from middle school to high school, one that can be scary for young students.

There are plenty of clubs that do good in the West Liberty Community School District, but more often than not they stick to their respective grades and age groups.

However, spread out across the warm library floor as icy rain pooled outside last Monday, students of all ages and grades worked together with a common goal.

Perhaps this is one interpretation of what Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he had a dream back on August 28, 1963…some 54 years ago.
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