TKHS Students Help Local United Way Organization

This project arose as a way for Saxton’s eleventh-grade AP students to learn about rhetoric from a real-world standpoint. Saxton encouraged her students to help their community and use the rhetorical skills they learned in a real-life situation that could help people in a meaningful way.

The Barry County United Way has been helping the community for more than one hundred years. They fund programs to assist families in need via their food pantries, backpack program, economic support program, homeless prevention, and emergency assistance. The United Way is a non-profit that is completely reliant on donations to fund their programs and continue helping Barry County. The students have divided themselves into groups to each organize their own events that would raise money (or other donations) that the Barry County United Way can utilize to help those in need.

Since the United Way has been helping for so long, it’s time to return the favor. In order for Thornapple Kellogg High School students to support the United Way, they need the community’s help! Community members are welcome to participate in any and all of the events.

 The following are events that any community members can participate in:

  • Donating non-perishable food located at the First Presbyterian Church youth group. This food will be given directly to the Fresh Food Initiative food bank.
  • Feb. 22 from 6-9 p.m. Parent’s Night Out located in the TKHS cafeteria. Parents can leave their kids in the hands of teachers, and responsible babysitters. There is a form to register your child that can be found in the office of the elementary school buildings or on the TK Facebook page.
  • Thrifted Threads: Reselling in-style clothing items from 4-7 p.m. February 24 during the TKHS basketball game. Donations are accepted from February 21-24 during both TKHS lunches. Clothing donations will be rewarded one ticket per item for a raffle. The winning raffles include gift cards to My Sister’s Closet, Left Field, Vintage Haven, and Opus.
  • Faro’s Fundraiser Night on Monday, February 27 from 4-8 p.m.
  • The Trojans Through Time Facebook page has a link to a GoFundMe page, where all of the proceeds will be given to the United Way
  • The Trojans Through Time Fundraiser social media pages can be found under the username @trojansthroughtime. Follow the social media accounts that support these events! Social media has given the students a new way to spread awareness for their fundraiser. The Instagram and TikTok accounts can give you current updates on how the students are supporting The Barry County United Way.

Students are putting all this together while also learning about rhetoric, which can be described as “the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing.” In AP Composition, students learn to use the rhetorical triangle, a set of 3 strategies that can be used in order to convince people of what you are talking about. Ethos is credibility, pathos is emotion, and logos is factual evidence. These three strategies make up a large portion of what students learn in the year during AP Comp.

Saxton says that students are "going to be engaged in so many useful pursuits - figuring out how to capture the attention of a large audience; harnessing the power of visual, video, written, and spoken communication to convince and entertain; collaborating in and across peer groups; and proposing ideas to administrators, the press and local business owners. The possibilities for education here are really limitless." The project is Saxton's way of showing students how her class can be used in real life. 

            Many businesses in the community have donated their money, time and resources to help Thornapple Kellogg students with this project. Students spent time traveling around Middleville asking businesses to become sponsorship partners for the fundraiser. These students used their AP rhetoric skills to try and convince businesses to aid their cause.

             Student Lucy VanDuine is organizing the Thrifted Threads Fundraiser. She went to businesses and asked them to donate gift cards as rewards for the raffle. When asked about how she used rhetoric to convince the business she said “We used ethos, because it’s for school. We also used pathos because it’s a charity that they’re donating to and it would be good for their brand image.”

  The rhetorical triangle was used to convince all of the sponsors to donate and contribute in order to help the United Way. The sponsorship partners are Thornapple Credit Union, Design Wear, Westen’s Carpet & Flooring, Otto’s Turkey Farm, Barlow Florist, Faro’s Pizza, and United Bank. Other businesses like Opus, Vintage Haven, Left Field and My Sister’s Closet donated gift cards.

 Please visit our social media pages and be part of this student-led effort to help the United Way and all Trojans Through Time.