Hailey Marini and Hunter Deihl recently started their senior year at Pleasant Valley High School. If their teacher asks them to write an essay on "What I did over summer vacation," have they got a story to tell.
They worked all summer on their senior project, which was a huge clothing drive. They collected enough children, women and men's clothing to fill 500 boxes and 200 garbage bags.
"It's been overwhelming. Pretty much my whole summer," says Hunter, 17.
Hailey, 17, agrees it took a lot of time and was a lot of work.
"It was stressful. I think it gave me a lot of gray hair," she laughs.
Hailey says the idea for the project came about when she, Hunter and his mom, Donna Deihl, sat around trying to come up with something nobody else had done. When they decided on the clothing drive, the students got busy emailing and telling everyone they knew about it. They contacted Women In Crisis (WIC), the Salvation Army, and put it on Facebook.
Donation jars were placed in area businesses, and the money collected went to the Carbon County Animal Shelter.
They're very appreciative of all the help they received from family and friends, especially their parents, Chip and Donna Deihl and Stacey and Michael Marini, grandmother, Sandy Borger, and brother, Giovanni Marini, and to everyone who donated.
They picked up the clothing donations, sorted and packed them in boxes for the big D-Day (Distribution Day), which was held Aug. 18 at the Trachsville Volunteer Fire Co. The clothing give-away was free and open to anyone.
"We were simply amazed at how many people were here Saturday morning. We think there were about 500 people," says Donna.
Everyone who came received a garbage bag and was told they could fill it, free of charge.
There were a few items left and those were given to a donation center. All the boxes used for packing the clothes were given to a family that is in the process of moving.
For their Senior Project to be completed, Hailey and Hunter have to provide documentation of their 50 hours of community service, write a two-page report, make a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation and then present it in school.
"It turned out to be more than I expected," says Donna. "They did an awesome job. I'd love to see something like this become a tradition for PV seniors."
"It was wonderful. It was a lot of work, but it was a great thing," says Stacey.
"At first it was just a project, but it was so great to see everyone come take a bag full of clothing home with them," says Hailey.
"It was good feeling to be able to help people," says Hunter.