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Eighth graders use influence at middle school for good this holiday season

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Posted at 3:42 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 21:12:12-05

CHANDLER, AZ — A group of young teens at Kyrene Aprende Middle School in Chandler are using their influence for good.

“We’re looking for like, the main necessities that people need,” said eighth-grader Charlie Coughlin.

“I was very surprised at how many people got involved because I really didn’t think people would donate that much,” said eighth-grader Mathius Harris.

The group rallied their fellow student body to bring in and give what they could at a time of year it’s needed most.

“I don’t know what I do but they sometimes listen to me,” said Assistant Principal Carl Nasuta with a chuckle.

Nasuta challenged the boys to inspire their classmates, to use their leadership among their peers to effect real change in the community. Brayden Richey, Mathius Harris, Charlie Coughlin, Trey Pebler, Luka Cosic, and Alijah Baker responded by collecting as many hygiene products as they could over the last month. They spread the word across campus through fliers and video announcements and by placing donation boxes in classrooms. Their friends and fellow classmates would not disappoint.

“They like to have a lot of fun at school, but they have a big responsibility,” said Nasuta.

By the time the delivery day rolled around Thursday, the group had collected thousands of items. When they arrived at the Kyrene Family Resource Center to drop them off it was clear why it all mattered.

“I want to say thank you for being leaders and being a good example to your school,” said Irma Horton to the boys.

Horton is the manager of the center which provides critical resources like food, clothing, and other items to families in the district who may fall on hard times, all of it donated by the community.

“There’s no cost, this is to help our kids in need,” said Horton. “We want them to have full bellies so they can learn, and we want them to have the clothes they need to get to class.”

“You should never take things for granted because some people here, they don’t have the necessities that you can just wake up with every morning,” said Luka Cosic.

A lesson that was taken to heart by a school ready to help.

“One little donation plus everyone else at the school doing it can make a huge difference,” said Trey Pebler.

The Kyrene Family Resource Center is open to district families and educators Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is always accepting donations.