Students collect almost 800 pounds of pop tabs at Alden-Conger

Published 9:54 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

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By Ayanna Eckblad

ALDEN — Students and teachers on Friday assembled in the Alden-Conger School gymnasium for a special announcement before classes started for the day.

It was a special day for the school as it marked the official conclusion to the school’s pop tab drive organized and carried out by the Next Step Transition Education Program of Alden.

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For months, Alden-Conger elementary students have been bringing in collections of pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House of Rochester.

Bradon Lamaack, an 11th grader in the Next Step program, explained the work that went into collecting pop tabs.

“We had to weigh them, move them — all of the fun stuff — sort them into different buckets and other containers,” he said. “Sorting was the [easiest] of it all.”

Next Step helps young adults with disabilities become prepared for employment, independent living and post-secondary training, according to the program’s website.

The morning’s celebration began with longtime Ronald McDonald House volunteer Roger Weness sharing a little bit about the nonprofit and the work that it does for families of hospitalized children.

“There’s lots of ways you can volunteer right here in Alden,” he said.

He explained that although pop tabs are small and may seem unimportant, they add up. He said that the average funds the Ronald McDonald House gets from these pop tab drives averages about $10,000 to $15,000. He congratulated the school on their hard work and encouraged them to consider volunteering their time directly at the Ronald McDonald House if they have the opportunity.

After Weness spoke, the school heard from Megan Gooden, who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House over a decade ago. When Gooden’s son had to be delivered 12 weeks prematurely, doctors estimated that he would need to spend about three months in the hospital. Gooden said she and her husband were not sure how they were going to manage either driving long distances every day or paying to stay at a hotel. Thankfully they were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and were able to focus on helping their son grow stronger and healthier.

After the presentation, Pam McCullough, a paraeducator for the Next Step program, announced the amount of pop tabs the school had collected. The total came out to 796 pounds.

The class who had collected the most was the kindergarten class with a total of 186 pounds of pop tabs.

At the end of the celebration, McCullough announced every class would have a pizza party to congratulate them on all the hard work they did.

Following the celebration, students from Next Step helped Weness load all of the pop tabs into his truck.

Both elementary students and Next Step students look forward to having another pop tab drive next school year.