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Someone You Should Know: A personal connection to a program for students in need

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 8:36 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Colleen Mette is a Kindergarten through twelfth-grade art teacher in the Parkston school district and has been teaching there for fifteen years.

She is the advisor of the “Trojan Den,” which is a room in the school where any student can get clothes or items they need to be prepared for school.

After seeing what other school districts were doing to help their students, Colleen was inspired to create the “Trojan Den” this year.

“She’s always been one that jumps in both feet, and will make it work. This is something I think that is very dear to her heart,” said Parkston High School Principal, Eric Norden.

She teaches almost 380 students, and through her years of teaching every grade, she understands each student’s unique background.

“I get highly attached, and I even tell the kids that I take home that stuff, we don’t just leave at the day and go home,” said Colleen.

“She understands the things that different people need that sometimes we tend to forget. So, she has gone out of her way to meet those needs” said Norden.

From her own childhood experience, Colleen relates to the children who may be struggling.

“I grew up in a situation where we always didn’t have food, my mom worked really, really hard. I think I come from a different perspective e than a lot of people because I’m not just attached to the kids, I’m not just their teacher, I’m not just doing this to help them, I’m doing this because I know, I was there,” said Colleen.

Colleen shares the many advantages of being part of a small community.

“We have a Facebook page and I put what I need on there and I probably have it by the end of the day,” said Colleen.

Students scan a QR code to ask for things, and they can be placed privately in their lockers or driven directly to a student’s home.

“I have a voice, I can be that voice for them when they need something I can hunt that item down, I’m good at finding things. If a kid needs something, I’m going to make sure I find it,” said Colleen.

She has big plans for the “Trojan Den,” wanting to expand the program within the school, offer more food boxes, and provide free lunch to all students.

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