Service learning a staple for Science Hill’s Topper Summit class

From left to right, Kacey Garrett, Katie Peterson, Ellie Hanneken, Austin Woodell and Morgan Ratliff with items collected for donation to children in need. PHOTO BY COLLIN BROOKS

Giving back to the community has become a cornerstone of the Topper Summit class at Science Hill. As a part of Debbie Mottern’s class, students oversee and maintain the Science Hill Clothes Closet, which helps provide gently worn clothing to students in need. Also, for the second consecutive year, students put together gift bags to provide to students in need.

The 20 bags were filled for Science Hill and Liberty Bell students and consisted of shoes, pants, shirts, undergarments and other items that were requested by the students. A few of the bags also included heaters, blankets and air mattresses.

“It feels good to know that we collected these items to help some of our peers,” Science Hill senior Morgan Ratliff said.

Science Hill senior Katie Peterson is another member of the class that helped with the collection of items. Peterson is in her second year in the Topper Summit program. She said after experiencing the impact of the class last year, she made sure to sign-up for her senior year.

“I didn’t realize the impact that helping other people would have on me,” Peterson said. “Being a part of the class last year really showed me what it means to help other people. It’s just a really good feeling.”

Preparations to gather the items for the bags started at the beginning of the school year as the group hosted two fundraising events at Freddy’s. With the funds raised, donations from Science Hill students, and hygiene items donated by the Science Hill PTSA, Topper Summit students filled the bags with the needed items, before delivering them this week.

Another task the class takes on each year is the Science Hill Clothes Closet. The closet was started in 2017 as a project in the Topper Summit class. The purpose of the closet is to provide students with a safe space to find gently worn clothing items. Science Hill students in need of clothing or jackets can go and tell their counselor, who will set them up a time to go to the clothing closet.

“It makes me sad to know that there are students that are walking our halls that have those needs, but it is reassuring to know that they have a place to go to get what they need,” Ratliff said. “That is rewarding for us and is a reason that we enjoy helping.”

Anyone interested in donating new or gently used clothing to the Science Hill Clothes Closet can email Debbie Mottern at


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