By Sara Suddes Special to the Dispatch
Gilroy – Middle schoolers think they know everything. And adults write them off as teenagers. But some students at South Valley Middle School have a thing or two to say and their teachers are all ears.
Jenny Belcher and Diane Bowlby, faculty advisors of the student community service club at SVMS, are two of those teachers that love to hear their students' ideas. Belcher has been advising the club for three years and is in the process of recruiting students for this year's program. She has taught seventh-grade math at SVMS for six years and is looking forward to the upcoming year's activities.
"The students come up with the best ideas," Belcher said.
Today, her legs are clad in a pair of fruit-patterned stockings and her hair is streaked with neon pink. It's "crazy sock" day and her legware rivals that of the other students and teachers on campus. Energetic and animated, she describes the events the club has traditionally participated in.
In previous years, the club has held a penny drive to benefit leukemia and lymphoma patients. "Pennies for Patients" has raised more than $1,000 in the past that was donated toward cancer research. A canned-food drive between Halloween and Thanksgiving is a standard project the club works on in the fall. The club also takes small groups of students to the animal shelter in San Martin.
"Mrs. Bowlby says it's a lot of fun and we will help the community," Pati Trinh, 12, said of the club. "We go to the animal shelter and play with the animals."
A member of the community service club in previous years, Trinh hopes to get the whole school involved in community service even if they're not in the club.
"A lot of people are like 'ewww, recycling.' But it's not boring. It's fun when you get into it," Trinh said.
Another project Belcher has planned for the school year is removing the litter that lines the side of Murray Avenue near the middle school.
Diana Siqueiros, 13, agreed that this was a good idea. "I walk home over the railroad tracks every day and it's really dirty," she said. Although she has not participated in the club before, she thought it sounded like a fun program for her and her friends to become involved in.
Current events often dictate the projects the club works on. Tsunami and earthquake relief projects have been organized in the past.
"It depends on what's happening in the community and the children often come up with wonderful ideas," Belcher said.
She expects a turnout ranging from 10 to 25 students based on past attendance rates. Meetings will be held at 7:30am every other Thursday.