BY: Amber Vaughan
With all of the press surrounding A.A. Dixon Charter School of Excellence – there has to be something positive to report. Last week Sara Papantonion and Mollie Johnson, students from Gulf Breeze High School, were all about positivity as they took the helm to put together “Kids Unlimited Camp.”
Papantonio, the camp’s Director, said her ideas for the camp went from just a thought into reality – overnight.
“It really just worked out perfect – it fell perfectly into place,” Papantonio said.
Almost immediately, preparations for the camp were set in motion. Garnering support from their classmates, friends and families – the two girls worked tirelessly to raise money and solicit donations for the camp. Overall, the girls say they’ve raised $10,000 – most of which hasn’t been used and will be donated back to A. A. Dixon.
Although the girls did raise a considerable amount, they said a lot of businesses offered their support by either donating or discounting their services.
Aloha Screen Printing provided the girls with free t-shirts for every student and volunteer. Bagelheads also made sure the children had breakfast by donating bagels every morning. Jerry’s Drive-in, pitched in and sponsored a fish fry for the camp’s last day.
“We just had so much help from the community,” Mollie said.
Gulf Breeze Mayor Beverly Zimmern was also on –hand to show her support for the camp and the Gulf Breeze volunteers. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for these [A.A. Dixon] students to experience …a world bigger and greater and further than just the backyard of A.A. Dixon,” Zimmern lauded.
Zimmern continued, “I’m just here to see and experience, this camp that our community – our girls and boys from Gulf Breeze High School – conceived, worked hard to raise funds for and now are actualizing their dream and their vision for this school and for these students.”
“I honestly think that this camp has helped bring our community together,” said Papantonio. “It is such a rewarding experience for all of us, as well as the kids,” she continued.
For the ladies, this experience was definitely a learning one, remarking that planning the camp was a huge responsibility. However said the duo, it’s helped them grow as leaders, while offering them the opportunity to give back to a school and community that needs it.
More importantly, they’re hoping to begin a legacy, one in which they will pass the torch of responsibility to the students that will come after them to lead.
Papantonio and Johnson, not ones who like to half do a job, have also started working together with Gulf Breeze High, so that they can adopt A.A. Dixon, making it a sister school.