Battle of the toy givers at Frontier

  • Members of Frontier Regional School’s student council pose Friday in front of a box filled with donated toys that soon will be given to children at Shriners Hospitals. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Frontier Regional School students Bradley Lonear, left, and Bailey Lenarzyk, right, move a box filled with donated toys at the North Main Street school Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • A box filled with toys at Frontier Regional School, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • A poster displaying toy-giving tallies at Frontier Regional School. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

For the Bulletin
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — What started as a holiday gift drive turned into a generosity competition between high schoolers.

By the end of Frontier Regional School’s three-week toy drive, students had donated 430 new toys for sick kids staying at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

On Dec. 15, their efforts could be seen overflowing from boxes displayed throughout the North Main Street school’s first floor. Just inside the front door, posters displayed a daily tally.

“We wanted something to have some holiday spirit, and give back to the community,” said Bradley Lonear, a ninth-grader and member of the Student Council, which hosted the toy drive.

After a slow first week of giving at the toy drive’s start, Principal Darius Modestow said Student Council members challenged the junior and senior classes to see which could donate the most toys — advertising the drive via humorous public service announcements.

A week later, freshmen and sophomore students formed a third team, calling themselves “the forgotten ones,” and donating enough toys to overcome the junior class’s generosity and place second in just a few days.

“We missed by 59 toys,” said ninth-grader Catherine Bezio, referring to the 149-toy total that “the forgotten ones” had been able to collect, putting them second behind the senior class’s 208 toys. The junior class came in third tallying 38, staff members gave 23 toys, and seventh-graders donated 14 toys.

“We had seven days to bring in that many. They had a head start,” said Isabel Brown, also a ninth-grader. While the competition encouraged students to donate, 11th-grade Student Council Member Emily Laus stressed that it was all in good fun.

“It’s a competition for a good cause. The cause is the important part,” Laus said, noting the toys will soon be dropped off at the Shriners hospital in Springfield. “It’s good to give back, because there are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as we are here at Frontier.”