When Tecumseh Middle School gym teacher Sheli Randall asked the community for help — they responded in an overwhelming way.
Randall reached out on Facebook over the summer, asking for donations for lotions and perfumes for her girls gym class. She never expected that 300 bottles later, she’d still be receiving donations from faculty, staff, parents and anyone who knows what it’s like to be a girl in the middle school.
“This community rallies behind everything. If there’s a student who’s in need, all you have to do is reach out on Facebook, make a phone call and the community comes to support those kids.”
Randall said while evaluating what she could do better for the next school year, she decided she wanted to do something to give her girls a confidence boost after leaving her class.
“When you’re in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, you feel very awkward. You’re changing. Everything’s different,” she said. “When (the girls) came back to school, they had those (items) now to be able to use when they exit gym and feel a little better about themselves rushing to math class.”
Randall said it’s not only about building self-confidence, but also building others up.
Celeste Countryman is a seventh-grade student, who said she’s grateful her teacher would go out of her way for them.
“Mrs. Randall told us we could use them and that was pretty nice of her since I don’t bring in perfume a lot and sometimes, my arms and my hands are dry so I would use them from time to time.”
Fellow seventh-grader Rachael Cline said the girls have gym five days a week, so the lotions and perfumes will get a lot of use.
“We don’t like going to class all smelly and stuff,” she said. “So it’s cool that a bunch of people around our community and the staff would donate all this stuff for us to use.”
A locker in the locker room is filled with various smell-goods while the rest is stored away until the girls run out. A sign on the locker reads, ‘Confidence and intelligence will never stop being beautiful. Enjoy the lotion and the perfume.’
But Randall said this isn’t where the line ends. They’ll be looking at how they can turn this generosity around toward others.
“I think maybe we’ll look at the girls too and say, ‘Alright, people helped you out — how can we turn this around and help somebody else out? Can we put some care packages together for another school or for some other girls?’”