A pair of middle school students enjoyed a front and center table during the recent Hermiston Rotary Club meeting.
After bringing in the most food donations for the Hermiston Police Department Christmas Express, eighth graders Bryce Brock of Sandstone Middle School and Nicole Torres of Armand Larive Middle School were the guests of honor. Accompanied by their principals, the two students sat at the table with Mayor Dave Drotzmann.
Sandstone principal Lori Mills called Brock “a rock star” for his winning effort, saying he donated more than a pallet of food. Torres brought 288 items, many of which scored extra points for nutritional value, said Armand Larive principal Stacie Roberts.
Ric Sherman, who coordinates the food drive competition, said the total donations by Hermiston schools was 15,854 items. Sandstone, he said, won the middle school contest with a total of 4,025 items to Armand Larive’s 2,144.
A retired educator, Sherman got students at Armand Larive involved in the food drive effort in 1979. When Sandstone opened, he helped develop the competition between the schools to help bring in more food for the program.
Christmas Express started 47 years ago when Ken Hodge, then manager of the Hermiston Sears, had some extra toys and called Bob Shannon, who was the Hermiston police chief, asking if he knew of some needy families they could be distributed to.
This year’s effort, which also provided toys for kids, helped 500 area families have a brighter holiday season.