The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

Fliakas, Fry tie in canned food drive, serving community

Ms.+Fry%E2%80%99s+first+period+TOK+2+class+poses+with+the+242+cans+they+brought+in+on+Nov.+10%2C+the+last+day+of+the+SGA%E2%80%99s+canned+food+drive.
Courtesy of Ms. Fry
Ms. Fry’s first period TOK 2 class poses with the 242 cans they brought in on Nov. 10, the last day of the SGA’s canned food drive.

Throughout early November, Richard Montgomery held its annual canned food drive, in which students donate food cans to the Manna Food Center through their first-period classes. At the end of the event, the class with the most cans donated is declared the winner and given a prize: an omelet breakfast. This year, the final few days of the food drive underwent spirited competition between the first periods of Theory of Knowledge teacher Kerri Fry and English teacher Katherine Fliakas, both of whom tied for first place after bringing in over 500 cans each.

“There’s a lot of stress about, ‘How many cans did we bring in, how many cans did they bring in?’” Ms. Fry said. Around the building, Ms. Fry is widely known for having won numerous canned food drive competitions in 2019, 2021 and 2022.

The same stress was running high in Ms. Filakas’ first-period class as well, causing drama between the two classes on the last day of collection due to the closeness of the numbers. 

“We weren’t sure if we were going to have enough. A couple students came late with some cans, and then there was a student who was absent that dropped off cans because he was really sick,” Ms. Fliakas said. “We thought that put us over the edge to win it. We were really excited but we still weren’t sure what the final count was.”

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Yet, both teachers were quick to emphasize that competition was secondary to the crucial purpose of the food drive: to serve the surrounding community. 

What’s most important is the spirit of giving and how we were able to come together as a community to raise for those less fortunate. That’s the most important thing. Not that we won a contest but that we were able to get so much excitement in donating.

— Ms. Katherine Fliakas

“The most important thing is helping as many people as possible and then, you know, winning and omelets secondary to that,” Ms. Fry said. “The cans get donated to Manna Food Bank, which helps to provide food to our community, and it’s super essential, especially now with just the cost of groceries in particular increasing.” An article published by CBS News in April warned that food prices were rising at the highest rate in decades, making this year’s food drive all the more crucial.

Ms. Fliakas echoed this sentiment. 

“What’s most important is the spirit of giving and how we were able to come together as a community to raise for those less fortunate,” Ms. Fliakas said. “That’s the most important thing. Not that we won a contest but that we were able to get so much excitement in donating.”

Social Studies teacher Christopher Hinsvark co-sponsors the SGA, which coordinated the food drive. He had specific recommendations for what kinds of cans should be donated. 

“We like to try to ask students to bring in something that they would like to eat, even though things like canned vegetables, like canned corn, and canned green beans are nutritious. We like to have canned soups and stews are the best thing that we would love to see students bring in,” Mr. Hinsvark said.

Mr. Hinsvark also discussed the SGA’s process behind organizing this year’s canned food drive. 

“We do things like put up posters, advertise for it. We provide incentives for it, so we use SGA’s money to provide things like the Omelette Man and donuts to people who collect 100 or more cans. We also do the collection of the cans.”

Breakfast with the Omelette Man has yet to be scheduled for the two winning classes.

Many students were eager to donate and compete in the Manna Food Drive. Sophomore James Lemery stored dozens of cans in his garage, all of which he had specifically bought to give away. 

“I chose to donate because, you know, it’s a good way to give back to the community,” Lemery said. “I just try to…give to those in need as much as I can.”

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About the Contributor
Zack Lam, Features Writer
Sophomore Zack Lam is excited to write for the Tide this year. He contributes to the feature section and enjoys writing poetry. In his spare hours, he can be found taking his time in DC and listening to music.