Schools 'make a difference'

An area school system will make a difference Saturday during a national campaign promoting good deeds and community service.
Every school in Newton-Conover City Schools will participate in national Make a Difference Day projects to better the schools and its grounds.
"We have so many people that give to us," said Melanie Elrod, NCCS Student Services director. "It's a good way to give back to students and to the schools."
This is the 20th anniversary of Make a Difference Day, which is one of the largest service days in the country. This year marks the first year NCCS participated in the event.
Service projects vary from school to school. Newton-Conover High School is holding a canned food drive and aims to build a castle of cans with the donations. Conover School will undergo a painting project during Make a Difference Day. Volunteers at South Newton and Thornton elementary schools will perform yard work to beautify school grounds. At Shuford Elementary, parents will work to repair furniture.
"We are maximizing the funding we have (in the schools) by using volunteers and donations for the projects," Elrod said.
Students at South Newton Elementary School already have a head-start on Make a Difference Day.
Students in Kim Campbell's class weeded and planted a flower garden on school grounds.
Students and their parents donated the flowers used in the garden.
"It's a great project for the students," said South Newton Principal Julie Styers.
Newton-Conover City Schools is one of 27 education systems in North Carolina to participate in Make a Difference Day. The project is sponsored by USA WEEKEND magazine and Hands on Network, which is an affiliate of Points of Light Institute.
"Make a Difference Day is the perfect opportunity to give back to our schools," Gov. Bev Perdue said in a press release. "I encourage all North Carolinians to get involved in your local community and make a difference by donating books, mentoring a child or donating food to backpack programs."
People interested in volunteering for Make a Difference Day or donating supplies can contact Elrod at (828) 464-3191 ext. 211 or contact the participating school of their choice.
"It's really hard to judge what's going to happen Saturday, since this is the first year," Elrod said. "We're excited to see what happens."
For more information about Make a Difference Day, visit