SHS Students Connect With Their Community, Participate in Toy Drive

Students, staff, families, friends invited to participate

Simsbury High School students are sponsoring their first annual Toy Drive & Stuff a Cruiser Event, which runs through Dec. 18. The drive will culminate on Dec 18, at 9 a.m. when selected student groups will stuff police cruisers with all the toys that have been collected during the drive.

The idea was conceived by Mr. David Saloniaʼs SHS Connect (homeroom) class during a recent session.

“We were asked by Assistant Principal Ken Perra to do a community service project. The kids brainstormed and wrote several ideas on the board. The students then voted for the best idea and the Toy Drive was the winner” Salonia said. The next task was to find an effective way to distribute the toys to needy children. 

Phil Szerakowski, a junior and student mentor for the group said, “after doing some research, we noticed that the Simsbury Police were sponsoring their annual Stuff a Cruiser event around the same time. We thought it would be fun to partner with them and have students stuff police cruisers during their SHS Connect class. The Simsbury Police gladly agreed to help us.”

Toys collected will then be transported to The Hartford Salvation Army for final distribution to needy children in the Hartford area. Along with support from Simsbury Police, Hollowayʼs Appliance Store volunteered to provide their truck to help with toy distribution as well. Finally, students met and decided how to publicize the event.

Fliers were made and placed on bulletin boards throughout the school, an announcement spot was written, a Trojan News video was recorded and aired, and a huge, red TOY BOX was placed in the high schoolʼs main lobby.

Salonia commented, “We thought that having a big red box at the entrance of the school would provide a convenient collection point and a daily reminder for everyone to bring in a toy. Eight other SHS Connect classes have partnered in this event. The top performing SHS Connect classes will win the chance to stuff the cruisers on December 18. It will be a fun and meaningful event during this holiday season.” 

SHS Connect is the high schoolʼs connotation for homeroom. Students in grades 9,10, and 11 are required to participate in SHS Connect, which meets twice weekly for 16 minutes. Salonia said, “as the name implies, itʼs all about making connections with each other and applying the “Trojan Code” principles of Respect, Honor, and Responsibility to all of our behaviors, both inside and outside of school.” During SHS Connect sessions, students learn problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork skills that can be applied to all facets of their life.

Junior and student mentor Lukas Stone remarked, “the Toy Drive and Stuff a Cruiser Event is a fine example of what students can do to make our corner of the world a better place.”

The Toy Drive is open to all students, staff, faculty, families, and friends of the high school. Toys should be new or lightly used, and unwrapped.



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