Class of 2021 graduates from Calhoun High School recently met with the new leadership of the Community Club to discuss ways they can continue to make a difference in their community for the upcoming school year. Having started their journey in April 2020, the Community Club (formerly known as the Community Coupboard) helped feed more than 45 local families during a global pandemic.
Co-founded by James Gavnoudias and Liam Hardstone, the club held an online fundraiser in its first month and raised $2,000. Thanks to the generosity of the school community, the students purchased and donated grocery store gift cards to a local food pantry. In addition, they partnered with members of the National Honor Society to host the inaugural Clash of Classes event, which served as a food drive in October and November. Club members also worked with local organizations, such as the philanthropic chapter of St. Demetrios Church, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Merrick Community Nursery School and Calhoun Alumni Association, to further assist people who were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
“This service-learning experience has shown me the impact young people can have on the community,” said Mark Melkonian, assistant principal of Sanford H. Calhoun High School. “They learned the value of teamwork, compassion and perseverance. Their passion and dedication to working together to help others is inspiring. I have enjoyed watching these wonderful students become thoughtful leaders among their peers.”
To ensure the future success of the club, the students recruited and mentored underclassmen to take over the reins of leadership. They will continue to volunteer at the local food bank, shop for food, organize the inventory and pack individualized bags for local families in need.