Socktober has come to Franklin County in a big way. What started out as a service project sponsored by Franklin County High School’s Student Council Association was expanded to all of the county’s public schools. The goal for the community’s participating schools was 500 pairs of socks.

Imagine the students’ excitement when they learned 9,100 pairs — more than 18 times their goal — had been donated to those in need.

“I didn’t realize it’d be such a big thing,” FCHS SCA President Rylee Elwell said. “It feels good to go above and beyond our goal. I’m really proud of the whole community. It’s like teamwork makes the dream work.”

The October competition within schools and between schools to see who could donate the most socks increased the number of socks donated. The top four schools in sock donations were Benjamin Franklin Middle School with 4,500 pairs, Henry Elementary with 1,750, Dudley Elementary with 1,300 and Boones Mill Elementary with 1,032.

At BFMS, each homeroom had a 1-20 sock tracker — similar to the thermometers used for nonprofits’ giving campaigns — which was filled in as socks were donated. New sock trackers were issued once a tracker was filled.

To prepare for the giving initiative, BFMS students were shown videos with Kid President promoting Socktober, which was founded in October 2011 by Brad Montague, who saw a need for socks at homeless shelters. Throughout the month, teachers would tally the results and post overhead slides in their homerooms showing how the competition was progressing.

Matt Dunbar, the eighth grade administrator at BFMS, called the Socktober campaign “fun” and said that he was amazed at the hearts of people who got involved, even beyond just the students’ giving.

“I just think it was incredible it took hold,” Dunbar said. “If you have a good why, you can do anything.”

He added that it wasn’t just a few classes of the school’s 1,300 students doing the giving, but all the classes participated. The top three homeroom classes in each grade received breakfast from McDonald’s.

Ashley Sigmon, FCHS SCA faculty adviser, said originally three local organizations were selected to receive the socks; however, with the volume of donations, the groups receiving socks has grown to more than a dozen and has stretched beyond Franklin County to include Roanoke as well. She said students at the high school are busy sorting through thousands of socks in preparation for their delivery.

Henry Fork Service Center also will be one of those recipients for socks.

“Socks are one of those things people just don’t think about,” Henry Fork Program Director Jessica Hunt said. “With wear and tear and colder weather, there’s a need for new socks.”

Abby Moomaw, a guidance counselor at Henry Elementary School, was the school’s sock drive coordinator. She said the school has a Kindness Council, and Socktober fit as a kindness project. Students designed posters that were placed around the school, flyers were sent home and announcements were made throughout the school.

“We have one of the smallest schools [with 182 students] in the county, so that’s not too shabby.” Moomaw said. “They [students] really love to collect things for people in the community. They were incredibly excited when they heard the principal announce the winners [of the school’s competition].”

Henry Elementary students were rewarded with popcorn and free time one Friday afternoon.

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