Every year at Live Oak High School, in between regular schoolwork, athletics, work, home life, and trying to enjoy their final year of high school, senior students are tasked with the graduation requirement of completing a senior project. The project requires that students complete at least twenty-hours of a community-service based project of their choice. For projects that are not community-service oriented, students are required to complete an additional ten-hours of community service.
Grueling as it may be for some, some students find out that the project often evolves into something much larger and more meaningful.
According to Live Oak High School teacher Erin Walton, every year there are a few exceptional students that go beyond the minimum standards and do amazing services.
An example of one of those students is Live Oak senior Kortni Lafnear.
“I was really excited when senior projects were starting,” Kortni said. “I knew it was a chance for me to help out the community and step out of my comfort zone.”
For her senior project, Kortni handmade nearly eighty tie-blankets to donate to Children’s Hope Foster Family Agency in Gridley. She completed half of those before the Christmas holiday season, so that they could be donated at the Children’s Hope annual Christmas party; the other blankets were donated as they were completed.
“As teachers we have the opportunity to work with a dozen students during the school year to monitor their projects and meet the deadlines,” Walton said. “Not all projects are as charitable as hers.”
Kortni said her motivation for deciding on this as her senior project came from her parents’ involvement in foster care. Her parents, Linda and Troy Lafnear, have been foster parents for the past three years.
“I started making blankets for the children that came into my home, and thought I could make the children I don't get to see feel special as well,” she said.
From September to April, Kortni spent over seventy-two hours outside of school working on her project, not including the time she spent searching for donations of fabric and going out to purchasing the fabric. On top of that, she contributed over $150 out of pocket to complete her project.
Kortni’s project mentor, Sierra Pettit, a social worker at Children’s Hope, helped Kortni in getting a number of anonymous fabric donations, as well as a few anonymous monetary donations to purchase the fabric. Kortni says Pettit was very helpful and supported her project the entire time. She also received some help from her parents and friends Cruz Aleman and Michael Carter after she completed the mandatory twenty-hours on her own.
“Afterwards I was proud of myself, and I was really surprised,” she said. “I never thought that I would be able to make a difference to a large group of people, children especially.”
Page 2 of 2 - Kortni says she hopes to continue to receive donations, so she can continue to donate to other local organizations.
“I really do want to continue helping out at local charities and organizations in any way I can.”
Kortni plans to either attend Yuba College in the fall or attend the Disney College Program in Anaheim. She will find out if she has been excepted to the Disney College Program in mid-June. She plans to transfer to a university after finishing her General Education and become an Agriculture teacher someday.