Cottage Hill student expresses Christmas spirit |

Cottage Hill student expresses Christmas spirit

Cottage Hill School Secretary Elaine Greenhaw, Mackenzie Trinidad-Dowdy and Principal Karen Montero.
Submitted photo |

“A Christmas Carol” was first published in December of 1843. This work of fiction by Charles Dickens is a timeless statement about the humane treatment of the poor. In the tale, the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, transforms himself from a man who judges those in need to one who cares for them. This classic piece of literature, and the charity with which Scrooge eventually treats those less fortunate than himself, has influenced many.

Unlike Scrooge, one girl in southern Nevada County has lived an uninterrupted life of generous giving and has emerged as a modern-day caretaker of the poor. Mackenzie Trinidad-Dowdy, an 11-year-old student in Mrs. Ferrero’s fifth-grade class at Cottage Hill Elementary School, has participated in the Kids Can Food Drive for many years.

This energetic girl’s interest in helping the hungry began in the first grade when she was able to collect 250 cans of food. In the third grade, Mackenzie discovered that a close friend and classmate’s family was being supported by The Nevada County Food Bank. This inspired her to collect even more food for the needy. She was able to donate 400 cans that year.

This year’s collection effort has topped all others. Mackenzie’s contribution of 901 food items is a personal best. She has spent hours of her time collecting food for the benefit of others. Last week, at Cottage Hill School’s assembly, Principal Karen Montero presented her with a special certificate for her efforts.

For the past 12 years or so, Ron Trimble of Lake of the Pines has coordinated the Kids Can collection for local schools. He brought Mackenzie’s story to my attention and stated that she stands out as the student who has collected the most cans ever. The boxes of food from Mackenzie and the other Cottage Hill students completely filled the back of his pick-up … twice! He also collected from Magnolia Intermediate and Bear River High School. These three schools collected about 5,500 cans.

Ron was happily surprised by the generosity of donations this year. He also picks up cans from the Holiday Market, CVS and the LOP Clubhouse. The support of the Kids Can program in the South County community is widespread.

An opportunity to contribute to another great effort is at an event at the Higgins Lions Community Center. This the Magnolia Sixth-Grade Science Camp Spaghetti Dinner. It will be held from 4-8 p.m. on Jan. 15 and will offer a dine-in or take-out option.

The $8 per meal donation includes spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and a soda or water. Proceeds go to support the annual five-day outdoor Sixth-Grade Science Camp at Alliance Redwoods by Bodega Bay. The camp provides students with a hands-on experience of the coastal tide pools and the beautiful redwood forest environment. It is remembered by students as the highlight of their middle school years.

In order for all students to attend, funds are needed to offset the cost. If you can donate water, soda, Italian salad dressing, spaghetti noodles, napkins, forks or bowls, bring them to the Magnolia School office or call 268-2815 to volunteer.

The Bear River High School Jazz Band’s Swing into the Night event was postponed due to the recent round of snow and ice. It has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb, 22. Visit for ticket information.

Southern Nevada County residents can share thoughts and information in Laura Lavelle’s column. Contact her at

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