Pep rallies are centered around school spirit.
While Nokomis Regional High School has plenty of it, Friday’s rally started with the spirit of Maine.
In just three weeks, the school’s Junior ROTC Program raised $15,685.
“All of the money that we donated, 100% of it, is going to homeless veterans,” said MAJ Felix Thibodeau, Nokomis Junior ROTC Cadet.
Maine Army National Guard BG James Campbell said, “It’s emotional it means that much.”
“I think this is a really good example of a lot of kids out there who want to do the right things for their communities.” said Ryan Lilly, Director of VA Maine Healthcare System.
The Junior ROTC students set up shop at at places like Sam’s Club in Bangor and Bud’s Shop and Save in Newport.
They never chased people down for money, the communities just simply responded.
“That’s the key that we can take away from this. It’s about service and it’s about giving something back, which is, what I think, one of the essences of citizenship,” said Campbell.
While it’s not clear how many homeless veterans there are, the Togas VA Hospital sees about 500 in Maine every year.
This money will help the state eliminate homelessness, by preventing it.
Lilly said, “Clothing, things like that to get ready for a job interview to get out of a homeless situation, a lot of variety.”
These Junior ROTC students realize the impact just a simple idea can have on the community.
Thibodeau said, “People think when you’re in high school you can’t make a difference, but you can. All you need to do is take the initiative to want to do it.”
Many of these students have big dreams and goals for their futures, Thibodeau hopes to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point after graduation.