It is my honor to be in my 10th year of service as the advisor to the Student Government Association of Collierville High School. CHS SGA has a hand in many of the events that take place at the school. We coordinate all things Homecoming and Angel Tree, and we get the privilege to sit in many important conversations with faculty, administration, and even the school board as the student representatives and student voice. CHS SGA values student input, and one of our main goals is to both provide relevant and appealing events for the student body, but also to make sure that students make memories and develop strong character all-the-while. We are thankful and honored to serve as both the face and the voice of the student body.
Several years ago, I had a friend who was a designer for Agape North. I always admired her work, and so she introduced me to Agape North when SGA was seeking out a design for our t-shirt for that year. Not only did she design an awesome collage of the town of Collierville, but she also introduced us to the fantastic give-back opportunities of Agape North. The students and faculty of CHS love t-shirts, and when we knew we would have the opportunity to give back school uniforms to local students in Memphis after our abundance of yearly t-shirt sales, we knew we had to buy in!
The first year that we worked with Agape North, we first thought it was awesome just to receive the card after each set of shirt sales that showed how many uniforms we were giving back to local students. To us, each number represented a human. Each number represented a young student who would have a better day thanks to a new, clean uniform shirt. We know how proud we feel to wear our SGA shirts or CHS shirts. We know how we feel a sense of belonging due to these shirts. So, when we saw the number on each of our give back cards, we knew we were able to provide that sense of comfort and belonging to some “unknown students in Memphis.”
Then came the exciting part! These “unknown students in Memphis” became our little brothers and sisters! We got to go visit them the first time one spring day. It was an awesome day, I remember, because it was my birthday. My own SGA students surprised me that day before we left for on our “field trip” with a bicycle. They said, “We know you have wanted your own bike to ride with your kids, so we wanted to surprise you with this.” Yes, this was the greatest surprise and so incredibly kind for my students to do, but there was so much more in store that day as we go to go meet for the first time these “unknown students in Memphis.”
On that first “field trip,” we got to head down to Leadership Preparatory Charter School to meet our new friends. The Man - The Myth - The Legend - Mr. Veale welcomed us and introduced us to the students or scholars as they are known there. Each grade level welcomed us and presented themselves as a local college, i.e. Howard University, University of Memphis, University of Tennessee, etc. These presentations were amazing, and we could truly see the pride that Mr. Veale and his teachers were instilling in the students on the importance of being educated. The sense of belonging that I discussed earlier was very present as each grade felt part of a group as they daily presented themselves to Mr. Veale and the faculty.
On that trip we basically met the students and got to learn about their school, their passions, their inspirations, etc. We got to come back later that fall and serve as high school representatives for their career day. Many of our SGA students got to escort the scholars around as they met different people from the community that serve as many different professions. Others got to stand at our table and tell them about being a high schooler and the importance of working hard even at a young age to prepare for high school and college. Our students loved this second experience with the LPCS Scholars, and we couldn’t wait to go back.
We got to bring a treat in July for all of the incoming kindergartners to welcome them to school and to introduce ourselves as “their high school friends.” The next time we went back for a giveback we got to do a mini pep rally and play games, etc. with the scholars. I think this was the most fun of all because we just got to have fun together! It was so good for the high schoolers to break from the rigorous schedule and just slow the pace to simply enjoy hanging out with kids.
Our seniors got to go back again this fall for LPCS Career Day. Agape North made us “Be the Leader” drawstring bags, and we were able to give some of these to the oldest grade (4th) in the school. As SGA serves as leaders at CHS, we wanted to encourage the oldest grade to do the same their own school. This growing relationship has been awesome, and we are excited for each time we get to go hang out with our little LPCS brothers and sisters!
It has been an honor to be partners with Agape North. We always received quality design, product, and service, and we also love the partnership with Leadership Prep Charter School that Agape North helped create. Many companies have a give-back as part of their marketing and design, but Agape North truly partners different groups in Memphis and is a major part of fostering these relationships. They help set up and organize the time together as well as encourage it. They make serving fun. They are a stepping stone in attempts to unify Memphis at large, and are really a huge part of fostering servant hearts.
Mary Jane May, Collierville High School Educator and SGA Sponsor