A high school girl’s track team might be as good a group as any if you’re looking for some extra pairs of shoes.
That’s what Deanna Sullivan, the Ellison High School girl’s track coach, figured as she considered ideas for a service project.
“I wanted it to tie into track somehow and I knew these girls had a lot of shoes,” Sullivan said last month as her students arranged about 209 pairs of shoes on the school’s track at the finish line.
The donated shoes went to the Killeen Independent School District’s Community Clothes Closet for students and their family members in need.
Sullivan said a website inspired her to suggest the shoe donation and she liked the idea of keeping the project local.
She knows about girls and shoes and track athletes and shoes, but she said, “I did not know there would be this many.”
It started with athletic shoes, expanded to other varieties including children’s shoes and high heels. Coaches and other teachers brought in some and, not surprisingly, the track team members turned it into a competition.
“I can’t believe they brought out this many,” Sullivan said, repeating herself and expressing pride in her students.
Ellison sophomore Stormy Cherizard donated 30 pairs of shoes. She acknowledged her family was doing some cleaning out anyway and she liked the idea of giving to someone in need.
As the pile of shoes grew at the starting line, Cherizard echoed her coach, “I was surprised how many we collected. We started to compete with each other.”
Freshman Amaya Booker brought in 60 pairs of shoes, many from her mother’s work colleagues. She said when she found out about the project, it seemed like an obvious way to help others in need.
Brianna Joseph, also an Ellison freshman, brought 15 pairs of shoes, all hers, to add to the donation.
“I like to help anyone in need,” Joseph said. “I like to help people who don’t have as much as I do.”
She said it never occurred to her that there might be people in Killeen who struggle to get a pair of shoes and she said she was especially happy to help children and other students.
Ellison track coach Joshua Stacey said community service is a big part of athletic coordinator Trent Gregory’s philosophy.
“This community supports us all the time and we want to find ways to give back,” Stacey said.