Oly CAN do it! Schaefer & McNamara win Canned Food Drive


Molly Scriven

Mr. Schaefer’s class poses with the ‘big can’ after winning the daily ‘cans per student’ total.

During this year’s canned food drive, OHS has exceeded their lofty goal and brought in 136,100 cans– 21,100 cans more than their target. Teachers Micheal Schaefer and Mary McNamara both won food drive titles: Schaefer as the Bracket Winner, and McNamara as the most overall Cans Per Student.

The proceeds of the drive– both physical cans and monetary donations– go towards the Thurston County Food Bank. OHS staff encourages students to contribute to their first-period classes, in which the competition takes place.

Teachers have different ways of motivating students to donate. Micheal Schaefer, Civics and AP Government teacher at Oly, promised that his students would be able to dye his hair if they brought in enough cans. “The first goal was 2,000, and I would throw them a donut party… for 10,000… they said, ‘Can we dye your hair?’ I said ‘Yeah, sure,’ thinking we would never get to it.” His class ended up reaching 10,026 cans. 

Jesse Stevick, OHS science teacher shared his secret for getting students to donate: matching what they bring in. He thinks that the competition surrounding the food drive encourages students to make meaningful donations. “It’s neat that it can be something that inspires people to give,” he says.

The rivalry between classes can be quite strong. “Any kind of competition is really fun. I’m a fairly competitive person,” says Stevick, a fierce food drive competitor.

Schaefer shares his thoughts on the intentions behind the food drive.. “A lot of people don’t like…the idea of motivating people to give for a competition,” he says. At the same time, Schaefer believes that the food drive is a worthy cause. “If it motivates people to give who otherwise wouldn’t, I’m all for it.

While Stevick enjoys the tournament aspect of the food drive, he says the most important part is the impact the donations will have on people in the community. “The idea of being grateful for what you have, and recognizing that not everybody has as much… [and] to have a spirit of giving to something outside yourself.”

This week, teachers, students, and the Thurston County Food bank celebrate the success of the OHS food drive. Look out for Schaefer’s colorful hair in the hallways soon!