Stapley Junior High School makes the season brighter for Arizona children - AZEdNews
Sections    Tuesday August 16th, 2022
Twitter Profile Facebook Profile LinkedIn Profile RSS Profile
| SUBSCRIBE

Stapley Junior High School makes the season brighter for Arizona children


  • |
  • Laurie Struna   |   Mesa Public Schools

Stapley Junior High Students Participate In The 15 Year Tradition Of Giving Back To The Community. Photo Courtesy Mesa Public Schools

For 15 years, Stapley Junior High School in Mesa, Arizona, has enjoyed a heartwarming community tradition. The annual Toys for Tots drive, led by PE teacher Dana Dobson and student council members, has raised more than $100,000 to ensure Arizona children enjoy a happier holiday.

Throughout the years, the beloved fundraiser has grown to include a mini-parade and toy truck escort. The American Legion Riders and the El Zaribah Shiners Motorcycle Unit, complete with performing clowns, delight attendees. The East Valley Young Marines post colors with the culmination of a holiday musical performance by the Sabercats choir, band and orchestra.

Stapley Junior High School makes the season brighter for Arizona children StapleyToysforTotstt_2-1024x683
Teacher Dana Dobson dons his Santa hat and checks his list twice, to ensure donations are in order. Photo courtesy Mesa Public Schools

“The purpose of our toy drive is to make the holidays brighter for disadvantaged Arizona children,” Dobson says. 

This year, COVID-19 nearly hindered the students’ positive work. However, the Stapley community was undeterred. In November, the school hosted a virtual version of the fundraiser so students could continue their legacy of service learning.

Homeroom classes coordinated efforts where students competed for daily and overall prizes. The friendly, spirited drive garnered astounding results that included monetary donations, toys, and gift cards. Collectively, students raised more than $5,600 to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children and Sunshine Acres Children’s Home.

Stapley Junior High School makes the season brighter for Arizona children Stapley_ToysforTotstt_4-1-1024x683
Student council members gather to showcase some of their donated gifts. Photo courtesy Mesa Public Schools

Principal James Fisher shares that he is thankful to the students, staff and community for all their donations.

“This year’s Toys for Tots was a complete success,” Fisher says. “Without the community’s hard work, this would not be possible. Our school was able to help so many children this holiday season.”

Dobson shares that the past five years the school has focused on donating more locally, with Sunshine Acres Children’s Home as their main charity. Sunshine Acres provides a safe home for children who are separated from their parents and helps them establish long-term relationships with stable parental figures, preparing them for success in adult life.

“This year the bulk of donations will go to Sunshine Acres, and every child at the home will receive a substantial gift from Stapley Junior High,” Dobson says.

Stapley Junior High School makes the season brighter for Arizona children Stapley_ToysfoTotsrtt_1-1024x683
Stapley Junior High School students serve as Santa’s helpers for children in need. Photo courtesy Mesa Public Schools