Little school making a big difference

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RANGELY I Since 1979, The Ronald McDonald House in Denver, Colo., has been a home away from home for families with children receiving medical care. The House charges a very low cost per night, but they will never turn a family away because the family is unable to pay. It is for that reason that the Denver Ronald McDonald House, not to mention other Houses all over the country, rely heavily on donations to keep running.
Recently, the Rangely Junior High Student Council (STUCO) sponsored a fundraiser open to all middle school students. Old milk jugs were placed in three different classrooms as places where students could donate their old pop-tops. To motivate the students to donate even more, STUCO made the fundraiser into a competition — all three grades against each other.
As it turned out, the school ended up needing a lot more storage that just three milk jugs. In the end Rangely Junior High School ended up with a whopping 53,324 pop-tops. With an enrollment of only 103 students within the junior high, that is roughly 518 pop-tops per student. Even though the eighth-graders came out as winners, the school is very proud of all of the middle school students for helping support to the Ronald McDonald House of Denver.
When all of the pop-tops make it to The Ronald McDonald House of Denver, the pop-tops will be weighed and boxed up. Next, they will be taken to a place that will pay the price per pound for aluminum to the House. Many Houses make thousands of dollars every year from this type of fundraiser. It is one of their main fundraisers and is a great way to get different communities across the state involved in this wonderful non-profit organization.
The 53,324 pop-tops will be melted down and recycled, so not only does this fundraiser go towards a wonderful cause, it helps take something small and insignificant and make new items from them.
The Rangely Junior High Pop-Top competition taught the students many things. Students learned about the importance of recycling, they learned about how much Ronald McDonald Houses help families-in-need, and they learned that more than one student within the junior high school has either had a family member who was impacted by the Ronald McDonald House, or have been there themselves for treatment. Students also learned that you have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. In the end it was not about the prize offered by STUCO, or who won, but the feeling of helping families who do not have the means to help themselves in their greatest time of need. Just by recycling pop-tops, rather than throwing them away, our community has helped families hundreds of miles away at a time when giving and selflessness counts the most.
A special thanks to the community of Rangely for all the support. We could not have done this without you.

Kristen Coleman is a student journalist at Rangely Junior High School.
Article edited by Marian Neitenbach.