In the wake of some difficult times, Lake Fenton students have been making big efforts lately to make a difference in the community.
In November, Linden High School student and Fenton resident Josh Pacheco, committed suicide and his parents believed bullying played a role in his death. In December, Lake Fenton freshman Joshua Polehna, 15, died after experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Lake Fenton students have rallied to try to make their school and the surrounding communities a better place and help those in need.
The Key Club, a Kiwanis-sponsored organization that helps out the community, raised $1,700 that was donated to the Katie Wyatt Foundation to help a Fenton teen suffering from cancer. Also, the student-led anti-bullying group, Starfish Initiative, has continued to grow.
“Any time kids volunteer to make the school a better place or want to help out the community is a step in the right direction,” said Lake Fenton High School principal Todd Reynolds. “It’s a great group of kids that are trying to make a difference.”
The Key Club hosted a black and white color-themed dance on Dec. 8 at Lake Fenton High School. The group was able to gather donations and collect $1,700 that will be donated to the Katie Wyatt Foundation to help Fenton teenager Jesse Hourigan in his battle with leukemia.
The Key Club has around 50 members.
“It’s hard for us because we don’t have a community. The school is he community, so for those kids to become involved in other communities and make the best of it is great,” Reynolds said.
The Starfish Initiative has continued to grow. The anti-bullying group started with an awareness walk in December.
“We thought this was a great way to kick off our group,” said Kristen Cody, a junior and a member. “We want to have a big impact.”
The group started with a few members and has grown to around 30. The group's founder, Matt Wilson, was recently named Student of the Month at Lake Fenton for his efforts.
“It’s grown, but not anywhere near where they want to get it,” Reynolds said.
The group meets each week to come up with ideas to help fight bullying. Reynolds said the group has an adviser, Sheila Smith, but the students lead the action.
“They do the agenda. They do everything,” Reynolds said. “It’s not an adult-led thing.”
Reynolds said he was also impressed with the students in the days following Polehna and 44-year-old Fenton resident’s Kirk Beauchamp’s flu-related deaths.
“Even during the difficult times with the deaths, kids asked how they could support the families and were stepping up to help,” Reynolds said. “There were quite a few kids who showed up at Josh’s visitation and funeral to show their support.”