As we head into the holiday season, let me share a few ways in which Marshall students are working to make the world a better place this school year.

Led by senior Claire S, the Marshall Student Leadership Forum (made up of leaders of the upper school’s various clubs and activities) held a Penny Wars competition from October 24-28 to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The contest had our MS and US students pair up by grade level to bring money in to support childhood cancer research.

In total, our students raised $1,187 dollars — along with awareness of how their individual efforts can be combined to make a bigger difference for the lives of others.

In our 7th grade, the class has chosen the Solvay Hospice House as their service learning project for 2011-2012. They began by touring the facility to learn first-hand about hospice care and how the house functions. Throughout the year, the students will do small projects designed to brighten the seasons and help connect the patients with our community.

In our 10th grade, students in advisory have be researching local organizations and brainstorming ways to support our community. Soon they will make a selection for a year-long service project and then break their advisories into new groupings so they can work together in areas of mutual interest. Hopefully, some students will continue to support these organizations throughout their junior and senior years, even after the official 10th-grade project comes to an end.

This Wednesday, November 16th, Marshall will be kicking off its annual fundraising efforts with our Give to the Max campaign. Our annual fund supports both financial aid and regular school programming. This year, one generous donor has offered to match — dollar-for-dollar up to $25,000 — the contributions of new donors to our annual fund. What a fabulous way to leverage your gift and double its impact on our campaign.

Our students are learning the importance of giving of their time and talents to organizations around our community. I hope you’ll consider showing them how much you support their school and everything we do to provide the best possible experience for all in our care.