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Kerr Elementary students show their giving side

| Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Kerr student council members Dakota Carr and president Lucy Markovitz hang hundreds of paper feathers on turkeys representing donations made.

Kerr Elementary students Lucy Markovitz and Dakota Carr were daunted by the task of trimming 1,000 turkey feathers from construction paper but they set about the task cheerfully.

When the number climbed to 3,000, the student council officers recruited help.

“We had so many people come to help,” said Lucy, 11. “Some were only supposed to work during one lunch period but they kept coming to help.”

And that was when the girls knew their project Give-A-Gift was a success.

The fundraiser, sponsored by the school's newly-revamped student council, was aimed at showing children how easily they could give to the needy.

“Our big thing is helping others,” said Kerr teacher and student council advisor Stan Strzempek.

“We want to make a difference in school and life.”

The project had a simple but fun premise. Six paper turkeys, representing the kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms, were hung on the bulletin board in the main hallway. Students could purchase paper feathers for 25 cents to decorate their grade's bird.

Proceeds went to North Hills-based Network of Hope, a group that helps local people with hunger, addiction and child care.

The group will use the money to provide holiday gifts for families in need.

“We like that some of the gifts will come back to this community,” Strzempek said.

In all, the school sold more than 4,000 feathers and raised $1,080.

“We definitely did not think we would raise this much,” said Dakota, 11.

“People have been bringing in bags of quarters.”

Each day before lunch, long lines formed in the hallway with students clamoring over which color of feather they would buy.

“It turned into quite a competition,” said Lucy, standing before a bulletin board brimming with homemade feathers.

“We never would have expected to sell them all. We figured maybe 1,000. But by Wednesday, we needed three times that many.

“It's all going to a good cause and makes people have happy holidays.”

Student council had been on hiatus at Kerr for about six years until Strzempek decided to reorganize.

“We want to do something to help in the community,” he said.

The grade level with the most feathers earned a movie party, he said, but “everyone is a winner for helping.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or

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