RRISD students, staff work on project for those in need of basic school supplies and clothing items

Students at Cedar Ridge High School in Round Rock are collaborating with school staff to expand a space that provides clothing, food and other items for classmates in need.

Called the Raider Locker, the room is filled with items such as clothing, toiletries, shoes, food and school supplies. Students do not need to meet eligibility requirements to receive items.

The idea for the space came from Kristi Mitchell, a communications teacher at CRHS, who wanted to mimic a project that was started by her friend, Karen Crosby, at Georgetown High School.

"We have tons of community supporters that [say], 'Anything you need, we'll donate,'" Mitchell said. "It's just a nice feeling to [see] our own student body coming with bags of clothes for their own peers."

Staff members accompany students in need to the locker, which opened in 2013 and is located in the south hallway near the gym of the high school. CRHS is the first in the district to open a locker and Round Rock High School may do so in 2015, Mitchell said.

Students and the community donate many of the items in the locker, which has more than 60 prom dresses, Mitchell said. She hopes to partner with other departments at Cedar Ridge for donation drives to keep the locker filled with items.

Construction technology teacher Neil Little said Mitchell approached him in 2013 to discuss expanding the physical space for the locker.

"When Kristi approached me last year with the idea, I was really excited about it," Little said. "This is the kind of stuff we love to do."

Little's students have been charged with building additional cabinetry and shelves, pricing materials and designing the space for the locker and are about halfway through with completing the expansion, he said.

Advanced construction technology sophomore students Austin Elwell and Cesar Haros are helping to expand the locker.

"It's a cool thing to do for us," Elwell said. "Now that we have the hanging rods, we can put more clothes in there, nicer shirts."

Haros, who hopes to pursue a construction career in the future, said he enjoys working on the project because it is for a good cause.

No monetary donations are accepted, but anyone can donate clothing or canned foods at the main office at Cedar Ridge High School, 2801 Gattis School Road.

A website for the locker is not yet available, but a Distributive Education Clubs of America teacher is working on designing one with the hopes of launching it by the end of December.