A Novel Inspires Students to Give Back

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CASPER, WY - After reading the novel Pay It Forward, a group of students at Centennial Junior High felt they needed to give something back to their community.

According to the book, a teacher gives her students an assignment to change the world and that’s what teachers say these students set out to do.

"It’s a charity for kids. Giving opportunity and hope to kids. That’s how my kids, our students, wanted to pay it forward. They wanted people to give money and give opportunity and hope to kids," said 7th grade Teacher and Coordinator Mary Janousek.

Pay it forward day is all about giving back to others.

"I have 20. Where one person initially asked why don’t we have pay it forward day. Then that started the band wagon from there,” said Janousek.

Representative Walters was more than happy to help the students get the bill passed.

"I thought it was really neat that the kids had an idea that they wanted to bring forward in the legislative session and get involved. Where they understand how the process works," said Wyoming House District 38 Representative Tom Walters.

Some of these lessons the students learn goes beyond the classroom.

"I like that we're helping somebody, or something. Where going to take all our money and give it to the Zane Beatles Foundation," said 7th grader Sierra Ricks.

All the documentation is finished to make the day official.

"It's signed off by all the members of the senate all the members of the house of representatives, recognizing today or the last Thursday of April, depending on what date that might be that year, as Pay It Forward Day in Wyoming," said Representative Walters.

Of course none of this would have been possible without help from the community.

"We were, first of all, incredibly fortunate that our PTA donated money to us. That was a huge contributing factor to have things like the food,” said Janousek. “Some of the others were donated to us. Studio City donated the cards or the painting was Artisan Alley."

The students work through every step and presented all the facts to house representatives to show why pay it forward day is a good idea.

Wyoming is now the 11th state to recognize pay it forward day and sixty countries around the world participate in the event.