SHALER TOWNSHIP, Pa. (KDKA) – The end of their senior year is not what anyone expected, but members of the class of 2020 at Shaler Area High School spent the day thinking about others. On Monday, they collected food for area food banks and talked about what’s next.
“The fact that they came to me and they said, ‘we want to do something to give back to the community,’” says Shaler Area High School History teacher Mindy Thiel. “They (the community) have been so gracious to them as graduates that they want to give back.”
In four hours, the senior class officers and some of their classmates at Shaler Area High School filled five trucks with food. All of the food was donated by members of the community.
It gave the students a chance to catch up. Many of them haven’t seen their classmates since the quarantine went into effect back in mid-March.
Senior class president James Engel enjoyed the small talk with his friends.
“Mainly about how we’re going to go about graduation, prom and things like that and, you know, what we miss and what we don’t,” he said.
“We thought that we were going to come back by at least May,” said senior Mallory Robinson. “I didn’t think it was even going to take the whole month of March. I was hoping that it was only going to be like two weeks, but here we are now.”
The food collected was donated to three area organizations: The Bread of Life Food Pantry, Christ Lutheran Church, and North Hills Community Outreach.
During the time when there were no donations to move from cars into the waiting trucks, the students could talk about what’s next.
“I think most people, if they are not going to college, are either trying to join the union or get some other job lined up,” says Engel.
Robinson says her summer plans have already changed because of COVID-19.
“I was supposed to go to Penn State in the summer, but that (session) is already cancelled,” she said. “I am really hoping to fall doesn’t get canceled, but I am hearing a lot of rumors about it.”
Engel added, “We have to do a virtual orientation, I think. But other than that, they haven’t said ‘you’re not coming to school on time’ or anything. I just had to register what dorms I prefer and things like that. So as of right now things appear to be normal.”
While the immediate future seems a bit cloudy and up in the air, Thiel is confident in the class of 2020’s ability to handle whatever comes their way.
“They’ve all made their college plans, their future arrangements for jobs, that they’re not going to let this stop them,” says Thiel, the Shaler Area High School Activity Advisor. “They know there’s a bigger picture out there. Yes — they’re upset that this is how their year’s ending — but they know that it’s just a drop in the bucket.”
Thanks to their four hours of hard work, they collected five truckloads of food to help feed their neighbors in need. The seniors say this is a fitting way for them to end their career by giving back to people who have helped them during their journey through school.