More than 300 students in biology classes taught by Drs. Rosianna Gray and Kim Lackey did more than learn about science this semester, they also learned how to give back to children in need. As a result of a combined class toy drive, over 2,500 toys were donated to the Daughters of Isis, the female counterpart to the Prince Hall Shriners, as part of their annual holiday toy drive.
According to Gray, the organization was stunned and surprised at the efforts of the students. Toys were collected a few days before Thanksgiving break, and many students gave 7-10 toys for children of different ages.
The drive, which was sponsored by the Al Muqit Court #199, is one of the group’s major community service events each year. They have hosted the toy drive for the last five years. Gray, who joined the faculty as an assistant professor of the Department of Biological Sciences this fall, first participated in the toy drive with her classes when she taught biology at Stillman College. Lackey, an instructor in the Department of Biological Sciences, partnered with Gray to help increase the amount of toys donated.
Patrick Mitchell, a sophomore with double majors in economics and chemistry from Mandeville, La., is a student in Lackey’s class.
“Knowing that the toys would go to kids to make their holiday brighter made me want to donate even more,” he said. “I was really shocked and overjoyed when an almost endless supply of toys came to the front of the classroom over the last few weeks of the semester.”
Donations were presented to the Daughters of Isis on Dec. 6 at the local business Aptor Therapy, headquarters for the drive for the past three years. On Dec. 7, community members were invited to bring their children in to select toys for the holidays.
“This was truly a group of compassionate and totally generous young men and women,” Gray said. “We are so proud to have had the pleasure of being a part of the academic journeys of such outstanding individuals.”