In November, the Ottawa High School Student Council tried a new service project — raking leaves.

A very kind man, Ottawa resident Mark Cation, gave me the names of a few citizens in Ottawa who he knew would appreciate help with their autumn leaves. On Nov. 10, more than 20 high school students raked two yards at 7 a.m., and it took the council a little more than three hours to do both houses.

Everyone agreed that the project was extremely fun and rewarding. There is nothing like the feeling of knowing you really helped someone. We are now planning the same type of event when it snows. (Our fingers are crossed!)

Later in November, the council was wondering what else we could do to help the community. We came up with an idea for Thanksgiving. The council was given the name of a family who could use a little extra help this year. We talked and learned that the family had some special needs to take into consideration. A member of the family had Celiac disease, and it would be our goal to purchase this family a delicious gluten-free Thanksgiving Dinner. After we delivered the dinner, the members of the council felt so good to have helped a family of five enjoy a meal for the holiday.

The first weekend in December gave the council another opportunity to help out the community. We joined forces with the local Salvation Army to help “Pack the Truck.” Pack the Truck collects toys and coats for local children around the holiday time. Throughout the day, members of the student council stood outside Walmart Supercenter collecting donations in 30-degree weather. Some members, like senior Samantha Hepler and freshman Mercedes Bastillo, worked five- to six-hour shifts. At the end of the day, the truck was not only packed, it was overflowing.

In November, student council member and senior Dillon Boeh decided he wanted to help raise money for the Salvation Army. We opened up a collection at lunch, and students generously donated for a week. Then came the obstacle we had not expected. To give a donation you had to have a credit card. So Dec. 15, student council members rang bells for the Salvation Army. There is no feeling in the world like sticking two $100 bills into the Red Kettle. Thank you, OHS student body.

The last week of the fall semester at OHS concluded with a fundraiser for student council. We sold candy grams to raise money for other school activities like the coming Winter Royalty, which will take place Jan. 11. On the last day of school, students received candy canes with notes tied to them in ribbons from their friends. All 600 OHS students received a candy gram from the administrators at OHS. They read: “Happy Holidays.”

Hannah Thomas is president of the Ottawa High School student body.