Iva Sahneyah, a senior, said the food drive was nice for the elders.
“They were very happy to receive the food bags from us,” she said.
Sahneyah, who ran for the state champion girls cross country team, also plays basketball. She has been active in AISES and GATE. She plans to attend college after graduating this year.
Danielle Wartz, a senior, said the food drive is great because it brightens up the holidays for everybody.
“They (the elders) responded with such enthusiasm that you could feel the love,” she said.
She is active in the senior class and has served as volleyball manager. She plans to major in nursing at Northern Arizona University.
Kelsy Hardt, a senior, said she thought the food drive was a great community service. She added that the food drive shows that NHS provides great leadership.
“The elderly were very grateful,” she said.
Hardt was the top runner on this year’s girls state champion cross country team. She serves as historian for NHS. She plans to major in journalism at Yavapai College, where she will also run for the cross country team.
Jeremy Jelle, a senior, said the food drive was productive in getting the food to the seniors.
“It was an exhilarating experience because the seniors were appreciative,” he said.
Jelle played football and he serves as parliamentarian for NHS. He hopes to attend college after graduating this year.
Faelynn Zah, a junior, said the food drive was a good experience.
“The elderly welcomed us into their homes and were really grateful about the food,” she said.
Zah has been active in AISES.
Jennie Saufkie, a senior, said the food drive was exciting because the elders were appreciative. She has been active in GATE and Close Up.
Saufkie plans to major in business at Northern Arizona University.
Marissa Leslie, a junior, said she was happy when she saw the elders smile.
“They were happy and encouraging us to keep up our studies and they were so thankful,” she said.
Leslie is active in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (Junior ROTC) and AISES. Leslie is secretary of NHS. She plans on attending college after graduating.
Stephanie Povatah, a junior, said she loved passing out the food because “the elderly gave so much back than what we gave.”
David Weber, a junior, said the food drive was a good example of how the young people take care of the elderly.
“They responded with happiness and joy that their needs were noticed and being taken care of,” he said.
Weber has been active in Junior ROTC and plans to join the
Thomas Mentzer, head of the science department and NHS sponsor, said he is always excited about this event.
Mentzer said there was a remarkable response this year with people making many kind donations. The Wal-Mart in Gallup and a candy factory from the East Coast were among those donating.
The NHS also raised canned food donations during the Meet the Bruins boys and girls basketball teams Nov. 18 at Hopi High School. Boys Coach Mark Hall and Girls
Coach Gwen Grant both voiced their support for the food drive for the elderly.
Mentzer credits former Hopi High Boys Basketball Coach Glenn Haven with suggesting the basketball team help with the food drive by charging canned donations instead of admission on Meet the Bruins night.
Mentzer added that this is the first year that radio station KUYI has helped publicize the food drive.
“A lot of fans didn’t just bring a can of food. They brought bags of food,” he said.
Mentzer emphasized that of all the events he is involved in at the high school that this event means the most to him.
“It’s so tangible. It’s not the teachers telling the students what to do, but their idea of taking on something for somebody else. The elders get tears in their eyes. It means so much to the elders to see the kids from the high school caring for the elders,” he said.
Mentzer said the NHS charter calls for student member to have a community service project, so the NHS students selected this as their project nine year ago. He said this is the most gratifying project that he has been involved in for two reasons.
First, the elders who receive the food boxes have a great look of surprise and happiness on their faces because the students do something so caring.
Second, he feels it is a touching experience for the students and hopes they will make public service part of their lifelong work.
“This is infectious and will carry into their adult life,” he said. “It is an important quality to be human and do something worthwhile.”
Mentzer hopes the volunteerism spirit catches on with the rest of the student body.
“What if each student gave up one can of pop and gave 50 cents for turkeys and hams for the needy, the disabled and the elderly. That’s my challenge. Don’t take a can of food from your parents. Give something of yourself,” he said.
Mentzer said the staff at Hopi High School has always been incredibly generous about supporting the program.
Mentzer said Christmas is a time of giving in a season when many people need it.
“There are lots of people who are poor and forgotten. We need to remember the elders and what they’ve done for us. We want them to know that we appreciate them,” he said.
(Stan Bindell is journalism and radio teacher at Hopi High School.)