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Friday, December 22, 2017

Highlands High School Holiday Feast Drive Feeds Fifty Families in Northern Kentucky

As the Christmas weekend approaches, many find themselves readying their Christmas Eve meals; bringing the holiday ham, decorating the cookies, and whisking the eggnog.  However, for far too many local families, including many in Fort Thomas, such a feast is out of the question; in fact, for many Northern Kentucky children, breaks from school may mean the one meal they could count on, free/reduced lunch, is no longer being served.

Elise Carter, HMS and HHS Business teacher now in her sixth year in the district, decided to do something about this problem.  Carter teaches accounting, digital literacy, personal finance, and is the faculty sponsor of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).   Last year at an FBLA conference she attended along with Zuri Carpenter, current Senior and FBLA President, Carter heard about a school on the eastside of Cincinnati that hosted Thanksgiving dinner at their school for families in their local community. To Carter’s surprise, the families in need were members of the same rather affluent school community that served the meal and were not homeless persons living in shelters.  This inspired Carter to do something in her own community to meet the needs of those who may not be able to afford a holiday meal on their own.

As a result, from December 4-11, the FBLA at HHS, under the direction of Carter, set out to collect holiday meal boxes complete with ham, potatoes, rolls, macaroni, brownie mix, frosting, yams, brown sugar, gravy, green beans, stuffing, and pineapples; a whole meal in a box.  However, per Carter, “students learned that the extended Christmas break means students don’t have access to guaranteed lunch; so we decided to help with other daily meals by including a loaf of bread, jelly, peanut butter, and spaghetti and marinara sauce to provide quick meals to ensure families have something to eat outside of Christmas Day.”

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools Central Office also helped to fund some of the food drive.

“We are proud of our students and teachers who continue to learn through servant leadership opportunities,” said Karen Cheser, Superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools. “We have to be cognizant of the fact that we are preparing our students for the world and when our teachers step up like Mrs. Carter, that’s something we welcome in our district."

In all, 50 boxes were collected by the FBLA from 27 different clubs at the school and 15-20 students helped to assemble the boxes.  In order to identify families in need, Carter worked with the guidance counselors at Fort Thomas Independent Schools, Dayton Independent Schools, and with the Hosea House.  The boxes will go to families who have the ability to prepare a meal at home but for whom the financial burden of a holiday meal would be too great.

Thanks to the hard work, compassion, and gift of Carter, Carpenter, the FBLA and 26 other clubs at HHS, 50 local families will have a heartier Christmas; and that’s the true meaning of the season.

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