Hayward, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - Michael Dennis is a kindergartener at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School in Hayward, Wisconsin. According to his classmates, Michael has always wanted to help those in need in his community. So, to make a difference, Michael set out to collect something even a kindergartener can get his hands on...
"My family collects these," said a beaming Michael.
With a little help from his family, Michael has been able to collect thousands of aluminum pop can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis, which offers a home away from home for the families of hospitalized children.
"The pop tabs are very helpful to many families in this community. Many families have had people hospitalized, and have utilized the Ronald McDonald house. So, by collecting these pop tabs, it's a great way for the students to feel like they're actually helping people in their own communities, and in the area," said Kylah Eckes, K-12 Student Councilor at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School.
But it wasn't until High School senior Amanda Kingfisher—along with her peers—turned collecting pop tabs into a class competition that Michael really got to show off his stash.
"We decided to do that for spirit week because it's an easy thing to do, and everyone could easily find a can, and take off the pop tab," said Kingfisher.
And while there's no doubt that Michael and his family are the biggest contributors to the pop tab movement, there's also no denying the fact that this whole project is a school—and community—effort.
In fact, the collection effort may have never reached the grade school had it not been for the efforts of Melena Virginia Potack and one considerate group of 5th graders.
"The Peacemakers at LCO School put little Ronald McDonald boxes in the classrooms, and we collected pop tabs from that," said Potack.
...giving back to the community of which these students are so proud.
While students still don't know just how many pop tabs have been collected, officials at the school say they are always willing to accept donations from the surrounding communities.