by Joshua Taylor, Stillwater High School Teacher
I am a teacher at Stillwater High School. I know that many people get anxious when they see a group of high school students, and when thinking about today’s students, many worry about our future as a nation and as a community. However, that is not my observation. Conversely, I am continually impressed.
I have the distinct privilege of being one of the sponsors for Stillwater Makes a Change (SMAC). SMAC is one of the many student organizations at the high school, and it is easily one of the most impressive displays of kindness, generosity, and leadership that you can find. Completely student initiated and run, SMAC is in its 7th year of changing our community. Every May, SHS students research local charities and then gather together to vote for the SMAC beneficiary. After voting for the beneficiary, students assume leadership responsibilities and begin planning how to raise money and awareness for that charity.
Established in 2010, SMAC has raised almost $250,000 for local charities. Last year alone, SMAC donated over $117,000 to The Humane Society of Stillwater. This year, students are raising money and awareness for The Saville Center for Child Advocacy. The Saville Center’s mission is to facilitate the protection, prevention, and healing of victims of child abuse. With the Saville Center, the Pioneers envision a community where children are valued, healthy families thrive, and abuse is not tolerated. Hopefully, SMAC can bring us closer to this goal.
There are several ways to get involved with SMAC. This year SMAC has already received a $10,000 matching donation from the Perkins VFW! The students are incredibly grateful for the VFW’s support and generosity, and they are also looking for other possible matching donations.
Students are also looking for ways to partner with businesses with the hope of benefitting the local economy as well as SMAC. Already over fifty businesses have contributed in some way. Interworks sponsored the SMAC YOU WITH COLOR 5K and donated all of the
shirts for the race. Stillwater Medical Center donated water and gave a financial contribution. Jennifer Lauvetz-Enmeier DDS, Tricia Carpenter Insurance Agency, B&L Heating and Air, Denis the Jeweler, and Stillwater Family Care are all corporate sponsors of SMAC, and we are so grateful for their partnership!
Furthermore, there are several community-wide SMAC Week events that help raise money as well. For example, the Mangeant—a combination pageant and comedy show with high school young men as the contestants—is March 28th, and all are welcome at the SHS Performing Arts Center at 7:30 to watch the festivities. Admission is $10. Snack with SMAC—precedes the event and requires a $10 admission for an all-you-can-eat dinner. The community is also welcome to get involved by attending the SMAC Talent Show on Tuesday, March 29th at 7pm in the Student Union Little Theater and the SMAC Carnival on Thursday, March 31st from 5:00-7:30pm in the Eskimo Joe’s parking lot. Both events have a $5 admission fee.
While SMAC is an SHS student-led initiative, it has quickly become a community-wide movement. And we want everyone to get involved and make a change. Go to www.stillwatermakesachange.com for more information.