NJHS nominated applicant Nathan Schmidt collected a total of 170 pairs of shoes. The collection was a project that was supported by the overall community to give shoes to other kids who might need them.

By Marianne Mueller


When the 2023-2024 school year starts Nathan Schmidt is going to be entering seventh grade as a student at Stephen Mack Middle School. Schmidt spent part of his summer achieving a goal of helping other young people through a special project.

Schmidt’s mom Tammy and his friend Mason Sharp, another student at SMMS helped him with the collection process of “Second Chance Sports Shoes.”

Behind this mission was giving gently used sports shoes a second chance to play. The purpose is to provide kids with shoes they may need to stay active, to help parents save money, and gives people in the community an opportunity to be involved. Another bonus comes in the fact that reusing is a form of recycling that reduces landfill space.

Shoes were dropped off at a variety of places including the Rockton River Market in Settler’s Park, two branches of the YMCA, the Village of Rockton, Talcott Free Library, Gymnastic Academy in Roscoe, and Bootcamp Academy in Roscoe.

On Saturday, July 29 Schmidt hosted a free shoe giveaway at the YMCA, Ironworks branch in Beloit.

With the help of the overall community a collection of 170 pairs of shoes was taken, bypassing Schmidt’s goal of 100.

“I know that kids would need sports shoes or just regular shoes. I play three sports a year, so my mom and I have to get new shoes every few months. We understand the hassle of getting new shoes so why not donate them to kids in the community, “Nathan Schmidt said.

Schmidt has aspirations of becoming part of the National Jr. Honor Society, and is a nominated applicant.

Requirements for the NJHS include having a GPA of 3.75 or higher, wanting to help the community, and to be nominated. Seventh and eighth grade students who meet qualifications begin their journey by earning a nomination.

If accepted, each member must do one community project each year as part of the application process. They can also build off of what was done in the previous year or years.

Once being accepted as a part of the organization, each student is required to do 10 hours of volunteer work.

One of the people that Schmidt has always wanted to meet is Village President John Peterson, and by doing this project that door was opened for him as they met at the Rockton River Market.

“I have been wanting to meet President Peterson for a while as I have always wanted to be involved in politics,” Schmidt said.

He adds, “I had my first opportunity in sixth grade when I was elected to the student council. I am hoping to continue growing from that experience.”

Schmidt reflects on the overall experience. “I had a lot of fun doing this and the people I met along the way were amazing. I can’t wait for next year,” he said.

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