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Trio of eighth-graders aim to purchase water bottle fill station for building

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Rowen Suchoski, Luke Suchoski and Mason Earl, three eighth-graders at Scappoose Middle School, are working to fundraise money to purchase and install a water bottle fill station. The boys have collected $180 so far and are planning to launch other fundraising efforts to collect $1,000, the estimated cost it will take to install.A group of teens at Scappoose Middle School is fundraising to purchase a water bottle fill station for the school.

Three eighth-graders, Mason Earl, Luke Suchoski and Rowen Suchoski, launched the fundraising campaign in January.

Currently, one water bottle fill station is installed in the A building at the middle school. The three boys came up with the idea after noticing the fountain's popularity. Long lines often form between classes when students are trying to use it. With only four minutes between classes, not everyone who wanted to use the station could do so in a timely manner, the boys explained.

The boys approached school counselor Nick Jenkins to see what they could do. On a busy afternoon in early January, Jenkins told the boys they could fundraise $180 to help pay for a fountain. Two days later, the three boys brought in baggies full of loose change and dollar bills totaling that figure.

When Jenkins looked into it further, however, he discovered the total cost would be closer to $1,000. Jenkins said he gave the boys the opportunity to take their money

back, but the students said they would continue to fundraise.

The teens said they're invested in making their school better for future students, not just themselves.

"It just collectively helps the school become better," Earl said.

The boys are planning to host an all-school fundraiser in the coming weeks and plan to announce their efforts to other students during an assembly. They've also discussed hosting bottle collection drives and approaching the Scappoose School Board to ask for a donation as well.

It's possible the boys won't even be in the middle school building by the time the fountain is installed. They want to do it anyway.

"I want to give it to grades below us, because they're pretty awesome and they deserve this," Suchoski said.

Principal Troy Monson said the students' effort is admirable.

"It's nice to have students that don't think of just themselves, that they have other students in mind," Monson said. "I think that's a great spirit and character to have, and it speaks well of these young men."

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