Hundreds of students, parents and community members attended the culminating activity of a Beaty-Warren Middle School multi-disciplinary unit on Tuesday.
Beyond that, a number of community charitable organizations were the recipients of the month of work that went into the unit.
The unit was based on the novel "Sarny: A Life Remembered" and focused on people and organizations that serve the community and incorporated science, math, social studies and language arts.
Students interviewed people who volunteer and they wrote about organizations.
"Every advisory chose a charity," social studies teacher Pam Nasman said.
To raise initial funds for the projects, students could silence teachers, for a price.
For every 50-cent donation, a teacher had to be silent for one minute.
Students got to select which teachers they wanted to silence by putting the money in labeled cans. While teachers were silent, students were designated to run classes.
"Some of us had to be quiet more than others," Nasman said. Students donated $170 in her name and she did not speak all day.
In all, students brought in almost $700, she said. Caring For Life, Paws Along the River, the Salvation Army, and the United Fund all received a portion of the silence funding.
Students worked on other projects as part of the unit.
Nasman's class held a "puppy and kitty" shower. "The kids brought in items" identified as needs by Paws Along the River, she said.
Another class, one that chose the Salvation Army, found out what the organization was short on, "took their money and went shopping," Nasman said. "They found out that they needed boxed mashed potatoes and canned fruit. They divided up the money and went out and got it."
The students had to create a three-paneled board - a triptych - bringing together the themes from the novel, their chosen charity, and their interviews with volunteers.
"I liked designing the board," Kaylee Hunter said. "It was interesting when we interviewed the volunteers."
She interviewed Kelsey Morrison who works with the dogs at Paws Along the River.
A total of 167 three-sided demonstration boards graced the tables as community members moved slowly through the cafeteria.
"We open it up as a public showing so the parents, the people they interviewed could see the final result," Nasman said. "When the kids work this hard and they're this proud, it's nice that they can share that."
"I'm proud of them," Nasman said.
Some of the credit went to the teachers who bought into the event. "This group of teachers in seventh grade is so willing to go out of the box," Nasman said. "It's awesome."
"Beaty's firm belief in the Middle School Philosophy is reflected in this multidisciplinary project," Principal Rhonda Decker said. "I am proud of the work done by the teachers and students. We were pleased to have so many parents and community members show their support on Tuesday evening."