by Lisa Tome
Back when Perryville Middle School was a high school, Cheryl Patterson was a student there.
Patterson, now manager at the neighboring 7-11 store, was back at the school last week, helping the students to behave. Patterson and Paul Weinmann, manager of the Havre de Grace 7-11 store, were handing out donations to local schools as part of 7-11's Project A-Game program. Project A-Game has local stores giving back to the community - schools and organizations - as part of a corporate effort.
Last year, Perryville 7-11 gave $250 to Perryville High School. This year, they donated $711 to Perryville Middle. Elkton Middle and Havre de Grace Elementary also received donations last week from stores near those schools.
Patterson explained that the donation is the store investing in the community. "I know a lot of the kids and I talk to them. I know a lot of the teachers. And it really touched me when I heard that the school gives food to kids for the weekends," said Patterson. Perryville Middle faculty and parents sponsor the Helping Hands feeding program which sends food to families in need, year round. "I was so touched when a teacher told me that they send food home with the kids. You don't think of (the need) being that close.
"7-11 is trying to help within the community. I picked here because I know the need," said Patterson. "This is such a small town. Everybody knows everybody."
School counselor Leon Alexander said that the donation will help to buy incentive prizes for the PBIS (behavior incentives) program. Through that program, students receive prizes such as toys, books, and more for not getting in trouble. Every Friday at the school is Falcon Friday. Drawings are held and students can earn the prizes.
School assistant principal Holly Spangler said that of the school's 549 students, 99.8 percent met the behavioral goals during the first marking period. "The PBIS incentives are working," said Spangler. "We are very appreciative of 7-11. This (donation) lets us do a lot of things. So happy to have the community support."
Patterson said that 7-11 will also donate frisbees, t-shirts, hats, and sunglasses that can be used as behavior incentives.