Nearly every school day this December, students in the Ardmore High School leadership class spent third period collecting and organizing food, clothes, toiletries, games, and other donated items. Today, nearly 4,800 collected gifts will be delivered to the Ardmore Children’s Shelter and area nursing homes.

Between Dec. 5 and Dec. 16, the leadership class used the Do Good December project as another lesson in the multi-faceted class that fuses community speakers, Medal of Honor recipients, and social projects to learn the traits of a leader. Chauvin Aaron teaches the inaugural leadership class of 20 students with curriculum based on real-world lessons.

“It’s important that they utilize their resources to see where there’s a need, then move forward with a plan to fulfill those needs in their community,” he said.

Those three tenets of the class were apparent in the Do Good December project.

First, the leadership class identified their resources within the student body. Unlike a similar donation drive last year that challenged grade levels to collect the most items, students in the leadership class instead challenged other third-period classes. “Whichever class raises the most, they get a Chick-fil-A breakfast party,” said senior Liz Reynolds, adding the incentive seems to be working.

The leadership class also learned about the needs within the community. Aaron said students learned for themselves through phone calls that the children’s shelter needed food to help support a small group of youths and help several other families. Students also called the nursing homes they were collecting for and learned about the need for “memory care” items, or gifts to help keep cognitive skills sharp among residents.

According to Aaron, a $250 gift card donation from Dot Foods will cover any donation gaps to ensure all needed gifts will be delivered.

Finally, the leadership class moved forward with a plan. Senior Oscar Interiano said he and his classmates were responsible for visiting every other classroom to collect, count, organize, and store the donations each day. He thought the drive last year was good, but noted that student response to this year’s project is bigger. “It’s more organized. It’s better as a school,” he said of the drive and increased turnout.

Reynolds said the student response this year shows just how eager the students were about donating. “It’s going to bless a lot of people,” she said.