The new and improved Orange Week supports those in need


As students walked into class on Tuesday, March 21, they were utterly stunned to see a cowgirl in their classroom only to then realize it was history teacher Laura Stiles. Although this is a rarity for Stiles, she had every reason to do so, thanks to Orange Week. 

Orange Week is hosted by Kids’ Food Basket in West Michigan, where schools in specific districts raise awareness and resources for children in need of food. March is National Nutrition Month, and many may not come to see the value of having food due to the fact that it is something they never had to second-guess having. Not everyone has a pantry full of plentiful and endless amounts of food to eat from. Many Michigan homes battle to afford essential household items with the most sufficient out of all being food. 

Stiles was eager to take part in this and also pave a new path for the compassionate FHC community. She very clearly understands that food isn’t something that should be taken for granted. 

“I can’t believe some kids don’t have food,” Stiles said. “I think food should be God-given and something you are born with the right to. I am horrified that we have that many kids that don’t have dinner. Around here, most of us are so lucky, so the least we can do is kick in and give some of these kids dinners.” 

Stiles wants support from FHC to better the lives of those in need. In order to accomplish this, Stiles has created Orange Week for all of the schools in our district. 

This is a completely new week-long participatory event to bring awareness to the problem. It includes athletics, themed school days, a quiz bowl, food donations, and, of course, an assembly to spread the word. One of the most important activities, though, is coloring brown paper bags for the children to hold their food in. 

“I want everyone in the district to color a brown paper bag,” said Stiles. “Every kid in every district is required to color a brown paper bag. It only takes three minutes, and then, the student council will deliver the bags to the organization.”

While some students get carried away with designing and coloring on their brown paper bags, other students participate by showing off their athletic skills or their quiz bowl skills. 

Stiles took this act of kindness and expanded it even more to show how much more students can really do. This expansion includes competitions amongst FHC, FHN, and FHE.

“[On Monday], we had dodgeball,” Stiles said. “[On Tuesday], we have quiz bowl. We wanted more teams, but this is a whole new tradition. It was my big idea to make it a competition. One of my goals is to beat Northern and Eastern, [but] truly, to support Kids’ Food Basket. We’ll give it a shot. This is your first year. I am excited. I hope we win.” 

To support this big win by hopefully beating Northern and Eastern, and overall helping the community is senior Caroline Logan. Caroline is a part of the student council and has lent helping hands to aid those in need struggling because of this problem. 

She feels firm about the need for food, especially for growing children. Her perspectives are eye-opening to the issue for those who may not completely see it. Those perspectives are why she is concerned and helping.

“I am really involved in Orange Week through the student council,” Caroline said. “I help run these types of things. It is so important to me because food is critical to our being, and everyone should deserve equal access to food. It affects you mentally, your growth, and it distracts you in school if you don’t have enough food. Even if you haven’t experienced it, so many people have and need help. My main goal is to see as much participation as we can in all the events. It is always fun to compete against Northern and Eastern, but obviously, it is most important to bring as much food as we can.” 

To attain Caroline’s main goal, there are another five easy acts of participation that every single student can do. Those are themed school days. 

On Monday, it is pajama day, Tuesday is cowboy day, Wednesday is trash bag day, Thursday is biker vs. surfer day, and Friday is orange day. The Wednesday trash bag theme may seem puzzling, but that’s the point. The student council added new themes to catch students’ attention. For Caroline, the trash bag theme was the most enticing. 

“I like the trash bag day,” said Caroline. “It is something we haven’t done before. I think it is a break from our usual themes. I am embodying trash bag day. My outfit will be a trash bag styled as a shirt.”

As another student council member—class president, to be specific—Gavin Cai also feels very passionately about this issue. He has taken part by wearing a trash bag as well.

Gavin had very similar goals and perspectives as Caroline and Stiles. Those goals are partially to win the competitions but mostly to genuinely help those who need it most. 

“I wanted to get involved because I want to give back to the community and to give back to those in need of support,” Gavin said. “We are in a position where we can help people, so we should. One other goal is also to beat Northern and Eastern.” 

Overall, Stiles has become a true trailblazer and has taken the lead on the new Orange Week. She is a person for FHC students to look up to and to follow in her footsteps. Alongside Stiles are the students like Caroline and Gavin ready to help and show that students care and are willing to assist in improving our community. 

Stiles sets an extraordinary example of what students should be like: supportive, eager, and helpful. She puts lives into perspective, reminding students that not everyone goes home and has food. 

“I am horrified that we have that many kids that don’t have dinner,” said Stiles. “Around here most of us are so lucky, so the least we can do is kick in and give some of these kids dinners.”