Weston, OR – The Athena-Weston School District has added another resource to help local students, the TigerScot Treasure Trunk. English Language Arts Teacher Kati Funderburk and Counselor Charissa Hixenbaugh spearheaded the idea of making a school clothes closet available for local students. The TigerScot Treasure Trunk, or TTT, is hosted in a Weston Middle School classroom and is open to any Athena-Weston School District student. The TTT has a variety of new and gently used clothing, as well as new hygiene products available for free. It was important to the teachers and staff that students from all the surrounding areas would have access to useful items in a convenient location.
The school collected items during the fall and officially opened the Treasure Trunk before Thanksgiving. Hixenbaugh noted, "We're excited to have this resource available because many of our students live in areas where they can't just go to a clothing store or mall to hang out with friends." She added, "Many students go to 'shop' as a social activity, spending time with friends, or think of friends and family while shopping." The popularity of the TTT has already exceeded expectations in the few weeks since it opened, "We've had many students take advantage of the TigerScot Treasure Trunk, to the point that we need more donations, which initially we didn't think was possible." They are asking for additional hats, gloves, winter boots, boys’ shoes, sweatshirts, and TigerScot gear.
Students in Mrs. Funderburk's Leadership class have helped to organize donations for the TTT, which are neatly grouped with like items on clothing racks and shelves. Her students are also currently making signs, and the winning design will be printed in a larger format as the official signage. Funderburk noted students can always email their teacher to be let into the Trunk at lunch or before school. She added they are currently seeking parent volunteers to help offer more regular hours, "We are hoping to have it open Tuesday-Thursday from 11:15 am to 1:15 pm. Students have already been using it on a daily basis." Fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Hansell, has a sign-up for the fourth and fifth-grade students who can visit the Trunk during their recess. Students in grades 6—8 can sign up to visit with their Language Arts teacher.
Ann Vescio, District Superintendent and Weston Middle School Principal, is pleased with the new resource for students, stating, "The establishment of the TigerScot Treasure Trunk has become a whole-community project. Having a central and highly accessible location for clothing and other essentials allows students to quickly and easily pick up needed items without having to worry about running a parent on an extra errand, or going without.” The TTT is a practical location for necessities while also creating opportunities for engagement. Funderburk noted, "The community involvement has been amazing and heartwarming. The Athena Christian Church has been one of our number-one supporters," adding, "Our community truly cares about its students."