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Graves County 7th graders hold an online auction to support Homes and Hope charity

a gift basket made up of student-donated items
Courtesy of Dakota Ray
Graves County Middle School
a gift basket made up of student-donated items

Graves County Middle School students are going beyond classroom learning and organizing a project to benefit their community in the aftermath of December’s tornado outbreak.

A lesson on informative essay writing centered on the disaster inspired 7th grade writing teacher Dakota Ray’s class. Ray said his students understood the seriousness of the issue, due to recent events in the region, and wanted to do something more than inform their readers about tornados.

The students came together to donate items for themed gift baskets that will be auctioned off online this coming Monday on the Graves County Middle School’s Facebook page. Each class was tasked with making a different basket with themes ranging from movie night to pet supplies.

The basket auction is part of a yearly tradition for 7th grade students at GCMS. In years past, 7th grade students would study informative writing by having essay topics be about animal shelters. All of the proceeds from past auctions would be donated to the Mayfield-Graves County Animal Shelter. This year the proceeds will be donated to the Homes and Hopes for Kentucky organization, which is working to rebuild homes for Mayfield citizens displaced by the tornado.

Ray said the regional interest in the topic has made students more excited to contribute to the project.

“They’ve brought in so many items,” Ray said. “ I think last year, we had for the informational writing project maybe like six baskets.”

In a follow-up email, Ray said there’s 20 baskets this year. He said Natalie Winn, another writing teacher at the middle school, and her 7th grade class collaborated on the effort.

This story was updated to add the current number of baskets being offered this year and commentary regarding Natalie Winn.

Zacharie Lamb is a music major at Murray State University and is a Graves County native.
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