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VIDEO: Middle Schoolers Give the Gift of Giving For the Holidays

Lindero Canyon Middle School students complete a successful Toys for Tots drive.


Lindero Canyon Middle School students recently completed a week-long charitable drive collecting more than 400 toys for the Toys for Tots program.

Members from the Marine Corps of Pasadena greeted students as they picked up the toys last Friday afternoon. “Schools like this make a difference,” said Cpl. Gainey, referring to the student's efforts.

The Toys for Tots class was created by Michelle Sobieraj, an eighth grade mathematics teacher and mother of this story's writer/videographer.

“This is a time of year when children who are less fortunate than most of the students here at Lindero really need our help,” said Sobieraj. “I was so impressed by how my students gave up their lunches and other free personal time to ensure the success of the drive. Every aspect of the drive came from their ideas.”

The drive was organized by seventh and eighth graders as part of a new school program called Cougar Achievement Time (CAT) that meets daily except for Wednesdays. 

CAT uniquely enhances the learning environment for Lindero students, according to Dr.Abbe Irshay, Lindero's principal.

“Our CAT program is new this year,” said Irshay. “It is a three-prong program.”

The program provides struggling students with an opportunity to master needed topics in any subject during their regular school day. For students who do not need this extra learning time, CAT is offered as an enrichment class.

“I wanted to join Toys for Tots because out of all the classes it’s something you can do to help other people instead of yourself,” said Mila Derrick, an eighth-grader.

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