After selecting items from the community food pantry shelves, local residents were greeted with a smile and a gift from Brownstown Central High School students involved in the iGrad program.

The students had spent about a month collecting personal hygiene items from school corporation employees and the local Tri Kappa sorority.

Those items were placed into Ziploc bags along with cards made by Deb Schwartz’s special needs class and a few pieces of candy. A note was tied to each bag reading, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from iGrad 2016.”

It gave the students a good feeling as they smiled and said “Merry Christmas” and Happy Holidays” while handing out the gift bags.

One woman receiving a gift bag replied, “God bless you,” while a young girl’s face lit up and she said, “I love it.”

“It just warmed up my heart. I love seeing people smile because of me giving them stuff. It feels amazing,” sophomore Cindy Cross said.

“I like to help brighten somebody’s day,” senior Mason Dillard said.

This is the first year for iGrad at Brownstown. The program, which started in 2012 in Bartholomew County, identifies at-risk students and focuses on increasing high school graduation rates and decreasing the number of dropouts.

When Dillard learned iGrad was going to do a service project to help the food pantry, he was all for it.

“Helping the less fortunate and people trying to get up on their feet, I thought it would be a good activity,” he said. “It just helps us get more social with the community.”

Cross said it was great to see the program come together for the project.

“iGrad is like a family, and we love helping each other out, and we love helping other people out,” she said.

Kate Shoemaker and Terrye Davidson are the iGrad coaches at Brownstown.

They decided to have the students do a service project once the program reached 30 participants.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Tribune and online at tribtown.com.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.