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Highland Elementary extends service and love at Extended Table

Highland Elementary extends service and love at Extended Table
Highland elementary student council students November 2023 serving at the extended table.

Spaghetti holds a special place in the heart of Colton Niederwerder, a fifth-grader at Highland Elementary - it’s one of his favorite meals. His excitement to share his love of spaghetti with those less fortunate than himself is palpable.

Colton is a member of the Highland Elementary Student Council, a group of third, fourth and fifth graders who make a difference in their community. About once a month, the Highland student council members come together to prepare a meal at Lift-UP's Extended Table, hosted at the United Methodist Presbyterian Church.

Fourth grader Aaron Aguilar says it feels good to give back to the community.

“I like (serving at the Extended Table) because we give food to the people that need it. It makes me happy because we're helping them,” he explained while closing the clam shell box containing the meal the students had prepared.

The menu for the week's offering was both nutritious and comforting—spaghetti, a medley of vegetables, a soft roll, and a delicious brownie for dessert. The students worked with efficiency, assembling meals with care. 

Holly Bosley, their sponsor, was on hand, keeping the team focused.

“This is one of their favorite projects,” she explained while counting boxes with one eye, and ensuring kitchen safety out of the other.

Student Council is open to any 3rd, 4th or 5th grade student that wants to participate. This year, Mrs. Bosley has a total of 87 students engaged in student council and it’s the students that set the agenda for the year - Mrs. Bosley facilitates.

“At the beginning of the year, we talk about what needs are in our communities and what kinds of projects they think would meet the needs that they see,” she explained. “Extended table and the animal shelter are the two that they bring up year after year, because those are their favorites.”

The students also read at the Rifle Veteran’s home, and do fundraising activities throughout the year so that they can support local charities. Deciding on the charities is one of the best part of the process said Mrs. Bosley.

“I present several charities, describe the charities, and then they have to convince each othe which charity they should raise the money for. Then they decide as a group what they're going to raise the money for and all the details of the fundraisers. I facilitate and the students make all of the decisions.”

Lift-Up runs the Extended Table program and their website says that the aim is to feed the people who can’t afford to buy food and that Extended Table serves more than 6,000 people a year. 

For Brinleigh Bomba the whole process of the serving at the Extended Table made her feel good.

“I like the part where you're cooking, and where you're helping out. We cook the food and we get to help out and serve those in need. It feels good to get to help and serve.”