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Student Competition Results in Win for Peers

Created: 12/16/2013 7:05 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's the season of giving, and from red kettles to toy drives, there are efforts underway to make sure it's a merry Christmas for everyone.

And for students at one area school, those efforts are focused on their peers.

"Part of being a community is sharing," said Ellis Middle School student council advisor Eric Vaughn

And Austin’s only public middle school is a community.

"It was the Toys for Tots drive, where we asked kids at Ellis to bring in toys," said student council member Emily Sayles.

The focus was on kids between the ages of 12 and 14, the same ages as the 7th and 8th graders who make up the Ellis community.

"So we tried to get students to think about things they'd like, then bring that in as a donation," said student council advisor Eric Vaughn.

“A lot of people buy things for little kids like dolls and trucks, and thing, but it's harder to buy things for our age," student council member Emily Sayles told us.

“Things like board games, books, movies."

“Clothes like kids would want our age," student council president Paiton Schwab added.

There are more than 800 students at Ellis middle school. And when the Austin Salvation Army does it's holiday distribution this week, more than 900 students will get presents they might not get otherwise.

“By doing this drive and other things we've done this year it's really starting to open up their eyes that this is happening to kids our age," said student council president Paiton Schwab.

“You know it could be some kids you see every day or sit next to in class, so you actually can see where it's making a difference," added 8th grader Emily Sayles.

“If we expect people to understand what it means to volunteer and to give as a learning institution, we need to give them opportunities to do that," student council advisor Eric Vaughn said.

“Because if we're lucky enough to have those things ourselves, it's a good thing to do to help the people who aren't so fortunate," Emily Sayles told us.