8th graders' good deed triumphs over a slow start

May 23, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

The students were rained out the first time.

The second time a scheduling goof put them and another school on the same turf at the same time to do the same thing, forcing them to relocate a few miles down the road.

Unfazed, the eighth-graders from Brooklyn Park/Lindale Middle School stayed focused and did what they sacrificed a Saturday to do -- wash cars and earn enough money to make bag lunches for residents of an Annapolis homeless shelter.

They raised $152.

This morning they'll spend the money on bread, peanut butter and jelly, fruit and apple sauce. On Wednesday, they'll make sandwiches and fruit cups. Then six students, accompanied by their teacher and two parents, will deliver 30 bag lunches to Lighthouse Shelter.

Brooke Steele said she and her classmates wanted to help the homeless "because they need food and they need help."

"And we feel sorry for them," she said.

That's a good ending for a plan that started with confusion and disappointment. Melissa Sanders, the teacher, recalled that nothing seemed to be going right the Saturday she and her students raised the money.

She was running late. Her students had made fliers saying the car wash started at 10 a.m. in Hardee's parking lot at the Burwood Plaza in Ferndale. She arrived about 11 a.m. and found a group of high schoolers already busy washing cars.

A student who was with her asked Mrs. Sanders what they were going to do.

"I said, 'Don't worry, we'll do something,' " she remembers.

Managers at Hardee's moved the eighth-graders down the road to the chain's Roy Rogers restaurant in the Cromwell Field Shopping Center.

"We all stayed calm," said Mrs. Sanders. "None of us got upset."

But the students did get a lesson that wasn't originally on the agenda: "You just roll with the punches instead of letting them slap you in the face and knock you down," she said.

The students did make a few on-the-spot changes. Originally, they were going to charge $2. They decided to make new signs, asking simply for donations.

"We got five dollars each time without question," said Mrs. Sanders, noting that the students washed at least 40 cars. "The bigger cars, they gave us anywhere between five and ten dollars."

Some of the eight students who participated flagged down passing cars. One of them, Jennifer Davis, said she "had fun," and picked up a tan in the process.

"A teenie tan," she said, rolling up the sleeve to her gray sweat shirt. "But I got a tan."

The students will donate whatever they don't spend on lunches to Johns Hopkins Children's Hospital to help defray the medical bills of needy families with sick children, said Mrs. Sanders.

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