Recently, Alan Shawn Feinstein stopped by Gorton Junior High School to remind students that even though they are no longer in elementary school, they are still Feinstein Junior Scholars.
“Every year we have a lot of kids whose feeder schools were Feinstein Leadership Schools so they are familiar with the Foundation,” explained Sean McElroy, saying that Feinstein still brings the Junior Scholar cards and gets everyone excited about good deeds. “He just kind of riles up the troops to do things in the community.”
Principal Jeffrey Taylor said Feinstein addressed students about what it means to be a Junior Scholar by taking over the intercom system in the morning.
“It means you go above and beyond, and you’re really taking part in his vision,” explained Taylor, saying Feinstein will also tell students about the work the Feinstein Foundation does across the country and around the world.
The students at Gorton still participate in Feinstein’s annual canned food drive, but they also have a special food drive to benefit families within the Gorton community who need it.
“This year we provided for 22 families, local Gorton families. It’s us working to get the benefits out to those closest to us,” said Taylor.
The students also have a coat drive to make sure all those Gorton families have clothing to keep warm in the winter. Both projects also receive support from Stop & Shop, Big Lots and Dave’s Marketplace.
This year, the canned food drive was supplemented by the personal effort of seventh-grader Daphne EcKert; she started her own food drive, collecting cans on her paper route, but eventually joined forces with her school.
“We were able to have a bigger project,” explained McElroy.
According to McElroy, the Gorton students have also taken part in other charitable efforts that the Feinstein Foundation works with. For example, last year Feinstein reached out to Rhode Island schools to fundraise for Malala Yousafzai, the female Pakistani 15-year-old who was shot for speaking up about the rights of girls to be educated.
“We collected money and sent it over to her for medical expenses,” said McElroy.
Taylor said the school is happy to continue working with Feinstein because the schools benefit from the partnership as well.
“It helps the school at the same time. It helps multiple causes through the same effort,” said Taylor. “He’ll reach out to us throughout the year to help with causes throughout the world.”