Liberty adapts to new food drive policy

Will Wick, Managing Editor

The annual food drive in December is a Liberty tradition. While relatively small at other schools, the Liberty food drive has grown to huge proportions, generating 11,000 lbs. of donations each year for the Issaquah Food Bank.
Teachers have also engaged one another in rivalries, the most prominent being that between math teachers Andy Hall and Angie Kruzich. Hall has actually never won, and as a result, he has had pies in his face, eggs on his head, and most embarrassing of all, he has been forced to wear a pink bunny suit.
Such enthusiasm and high participation in the food drive has been largely spurred by the extra credit that some teachers offer, but by order of the district, this type of extra credit will no longer be allowed.
Kruzich, whose reputation as undefeated food drive champion owes in part to her generous extra credit policy, will have to make heavy adjustments to her winning strategy and has mixed feelings about the new regulation.
“I knew it was coming, but I’m disappointed in it because we talk about teaching students here at Liberty about how to be whole students, and I’m really into kids being lifelong learners,” Kruzich said.
Besides the competitive aspect, Kruzich is also motivated by community service, and she is concerned that the food drive won’t continue to provide the same level of assistance to families in need.
“It’s always been about giving to the food bank,” Kruzich said. “I developed a strategy because I thought it was really embarrassing to turn in five cans. That’s not supporting the food bank, and that’s what was happening at this school prior to us making the canned food drive really big.”
Junior Hannah Julius is similarly ambivalent about the change. While she understands the district’s rationale, she also feels that she and other students will be less likely to donate now.
“I think it makes sense that the administration wants kids to be awarded for academic achievements rather than just bringing in food,” Julius said. “But also I know that food drive participation is going to go down this year because of it.”
Hall, however, believes that he can continue to motivate his students despite the change with what he described as a “secret plan”.
“Last year, I chose to take a step back and let other teachers step up a little bit. But this year, I’m coming back in full force,” Hall said.