8th grader and 7-day boarding student Cruz Helmstetter exhibited Farragut’s core values of integrity, self-discipline, and perseverance when he went above and beyond to provide for Farragut’s school-wide food drive benefiting the St. Petersburg Free Clinic (a multi-service, independent, not-for-profit human services agency providing community neighbors assistance with food, shelter and health care since 1970).
Because of his hard work, selflessness, and some helpful contributions from family and friends, Cruz was able to raise $377 to purchase a total of 374 food items for donation. In addition to donating $20 of his own money, Cruz spent more than three hours shopping, adding up the prices, loading the car, and moving items into the DeSeta Hall lobby for donation.
“I have learned that I have more than I need, and I want to help people who don’t have as much,” said Cruz. “Giving back means making the life of others better, and when we donate food, we’re basically giving people life.”
Cruz didn’t just purchase food, he also made an effort to make thoughtful choices. He didn’t choose all the least expensive items in order to get the highest number of items. He instead did things like get a bottle of pasta sauce for every box of pasta and a bottle of syrup for every box of pancake mix so families had a complete meal. But wait, there’s more. Cruz also spent the time to write a personal ‘thank you note’ to each individual who donated.
Giving back is part of who Cruz is. On Thanksgiving, he and his family make sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless in his hometown in Arizona. He also does yardwork for his neighbors who can’t do it themselves.
“I’ve learned that when you give, the joy of seeing a smile on someone’s face who hasn’t had much to smile about before is just a really good feeling,” Cruz said.
The Farragut school-wide food drive is still ongoing. If you would like to donate, please bring non-perishable or canned items. You can drop off donations in the front offices of DeSeta Hall (Upper School) or the Lower School Office.
Admiral Farragut Academy’s mission and core values form the foundation on which our students, faculty, staff, and alumni perform, educate, and conduct themselves. We use these practices every day in everything we do.