HES STUCO volunteers at Extended Table

During their time as student council members, the designated Future Leaders at Highland Elementary School take part in many service activities that benefit our community. Last week, they provided meals to those in need at Extended Table, a long-running volunteer program held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church.


Principal Rich Hills couldn’t be prouder of the work STUCO does each year. “Their activities range from recycling at HES to supporting the Rifle Animal Shelter and serving meals to those in need at Extended Table,” says Hills. “They serve our Highland community as well as our Rifle community!”

 

In student council, members learn leadership skills through service projects that benefit both the school and the community. “We do things like pick up trash to recycle and run the Extended Table to provide food for people who need it,” says fourth grader Josie Hankens. “Everything we do is to help the community.”

 

When first grade educator Holly Bosley took over 10 years ago, she wanted to use STUCO to develop the character traits of compassion, problem-solving, organization, cooperation, pride, humility and service. In the first few years, membership grew from six to over 100 students. “As STUCO has grown through the years, so have the adults leading this fine group of youngsters,” says Hills. “Second grade educator Chelsey Rubin and first grade educator Liz Lisle also play a huge role in the success of STUCO.”

 

According to Bosley, some STUCO projects include collecting the recycling around the school, picking up trash at Rifle Falls park, packing shoe boxes for children for Christmas, holding a coat drive and a canned food drive, making treats and toys for the animal shelter, walking the dogs and playing with the cats, volunteering four times a year at Extended Table, raising money for school field trips, making Christmas cards for the seniors, and making Linus blankets for those students who lose a loved one.

 

“What's fun about being in student council is that you can enjoy the fact that you are helping people and helping places in the community,” says Hankens. “If you've ever heard the phrase about filling people's buckets, it's sort of like that. You can fill a lot of people's buckets and you also get to do fun stuff while being helpful.”

 

Fifth grader Mier Gutierrez says joining STUCO is like being a part of a family. “I really like helping people and it's a good thing because it also helps the community, but the chance to hang out with my friends is fun, too,” says Gutierrez.

 

“I'm inspired by the fact that our future leaders understand the importance of giving back and serving their community,” says Hills. “I'm grateful to serve alongside such outstanding educators and impressive future leaders each day at HES. I do not take these blessings for granted, that's for sure.”

 

“Last year, STUCO had to pause for COVID,” says Bosley. “I was concerned that it might lose momentum, but as this year has proceeded the membership numbers are on the rise again and students are excited to continue serving others and giving to those in need in our community, school, seniors home, and world.”