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Senior project will fund food pantry, school supplies for students in need

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A high school senior in Lafayette has chosen to use his senior project to give back to other students.

Tommy Bañales is hosting a student-led car wash fundraiser at 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Oakland High School, located at 1100 Elizabeth St., Lafayette, IN 47904.

“These kids, they don’t get love at home sometimes and maybe this, this is love to them you know, an opportunity to tell them, you know, I got them,” said Bañales.

Bañales is graduating from Oakland High School on May 31. To earn his final class credit, he chose to do something that would benefit his classmates.

“It was optional, and I decided to do a community project,” said Bañales. “The community project was to help students balance their lunch accounts.”

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Although the original plan was to raise money for Oakland student lunch accounts through the car wash, Lafayette School Corporation regulations require the money go to all eligible students under LSC.

“That money is not going to amount to all the kids that are in one school corporation so what we plan on doing is fundraising for student council,” said Bañales.

The money will go into an Oakland student council fund to help provide needs such as a food pantry and learning tools like backpacks, pencils and calculators.

“We are the non-traditional high school in the corporation,” said Oakland science teacher Kathryn Parthun. “We have about 60 students, so we have kids here who are teen parents; we’ve got kids who’ve been bullied, we’ve got kids, who, anxiety-wise can’t handle being in a school with 2,000 other kids. “

Despite these challenges, Parthun, who has helped lead Bañales through this fundraiser said these kids are bright.

“You see that these kids who maybe don’t have the best of luck, still want to give back and they still want to do something positive,” said Parthun.

The car wash is a donation fundraiser, so any amount helps.

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