Holmen students expected to pay it forward

Students given $20 to give to someone else

With Christmas only two days away and students counting down the hours until Christmas break final projects often lose their momentum, but for almost 200 students in Holmen, their final projects are making a big impact.

Last Friday, former CEO of Festival Foods Dave Skogen, met with about 180 business students at Holmen Middle School. Along with teaching them about business and leadership, he taught them about the importance of giving and how one act of kindness can have a ripple effect.

For the average 8th grader, most of their day is spent in a classroom, receiving instruction from their teacher or receiving their homework assignment.

Rarely are students on the giving end of things.

“They don’t get that opportunity often,” said Nate Casey, a business teacher at Holmen Middle School.

“We often times think Middle School students can’t do these things or comprehend and understand these things,” said Guy Turner, a business teacher at Holmen Middle School.

But for about 180 Holmen Middle School students on Friday, their typical roles within society were reversed thanks to Former CEO of Festival Foods Dave Skogen.

“He told us that to be happy, you have to be able to give,” said Malorie Olson, 8 th grader at Holmen Middle School.

“He says I want you guys to have the joy of giving and he said right there that each of you is going to get  $20,” said Brayden Nissen, 8 th grader, Holmen Middle School.

“He said to give it to someone who might need it,” said Matt Brown, 8 th grader at Holmen Middle School.

“He told us to pay it forward,” said Olson.

Shocked and excited, the students immediately started thinking about what they could do with their $20.

“Even though it wasn’t their own money to begin with, it became their money and they made those choices,” said Turner.

Some are still deciding.

“I haven’t done anything with it yet, I am still trying to think of a good idea to do with it in the community,” said Madison Twitchell, 8 th grader at Holmen Middle School.

“I am planning to give it to a random person and just pass it on,” said Brown.

“This Friday I plan to go and buy food and donate it to a food pantry,” said Olson.

While others have already paid it forward and have seen, first-hand, how their small act impacted someone else.

“A student didn’t get to go to the presentation and they said they really wanted to us it for somebody so I gave it to them so they could have the gift of giving,” said Nissen.

“After our basketball game, we went to festival and gave $40 to a couple,” said Trevor Phillips, 8 th grader at Holmen Middle School. “She smiled and kind of teared up a bit. Then we walked away and I turned back around and she was staring at her husband and amazed.”

Amazed because it’s unexpected, but none the less still as inspiring and impactful.

“These students are so much more mature than we give them credit for,” said Turner.

“I know I won’t forget it so I don’t think she will,” said Phillips.

“It’s those life lessons like that that you can teach in a classroom, but until they do it or something like this, to get that experience is priceless,” said Casey.

After giving the money away, the students have to write a paper about their experience and how it made them feel. Then they plan on giving Dave Skogen a packet explaining how they paid it forward.

Skogen donated a total of about $3,600.