MMS students put best foot forward

Students from Midway Middle School unload shoes from the bus.

Midway Middle School students donated shoes to the Department of Aging as part of a class project.

One local school project led students to give back to the community — while learning at the same time.

Students of Laura Waters at Midway Middle School were learning about the Holocaust and many victims of the massive killings. As part of the learning process, students were asked to participate in a project by donating shoes locally to someone in need.

According to Waters, the students had a goal of collecting 200 pairs of shoes. The project was meant to remind the students of those killed during the mass murders many years ago.

“Our goal was to collect 200 shoes in memory of those killed in the Holocaust,” Waters said. “Much like the shoes collected from the Holocaust victims, however, our shoes were to remind everyone of the atrocities in the Holocaust.”

The Midway Middle students worked hard on the project, Waters said, collecting more than their goal. In all, the students collected 319 pairs of shoes. The shoes were then taken to the Department of Aging and given to Lesia Henderson, coordinator of the SCDOA Family Caregiver Program. The shoes were given to the families who are a part of the GrandFamilies program, which includes grandparents who are raising grandchildren.

“Our students searched diligently for somewhere to donate our shoes,” Waters stated. “We were just about to give up when our guidance counselor, Misty McLamb, mentioned an email she received from the Department of Aging. She passed it on to us.”

The purpose of donating the shoes, Waters said, was to help the community while spreading historical knowledge at the same time.

“We wanted to provide them with a way to have access to a difficult, or expensive, necessities,” Waters said. “We need to remember the past. If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.”

According to Waters, the project and donation were a huge success.

“I would say it was a great success,” Waters noted. “The History Club students loved the project. They made historical posters, brought in shoes of their own, and stacked the pile to resemble those seen in concentration camps.”

Waters said she was proud of her students and the effort they put into the project.

“I was so proud of the hard work our students put in,” Waters said. “Several students went every morning to organize the pile. I am thankful for all of the help and donations that came in. Our students did research on different genocides that occurred throughout our world’s history, but none seemed to compare to the Holocaust in their minds. I wanted them to see the importance of loving others no matter the differences between them, and standing up for what’s right.”

The majority of a students had a sense of gratification from the project, according to the students.

“It was gratifying,” eighth grader Christopher Oates said. “It made me thankful that I have shoes, and I was glad to know that the shoes were going to a good sot where many would benefit from it. When we see so much negativity in humanity, it’s nice to know that society still cares for others.”