FMS holds fourth annual cereal box dominos with record number of donations

On Monday, Dec. 18, Farnsworth Middle School held their annual cereal box dominos to benefit the Guilderland Food Pantry. A tradition for the past three years, the event brings the school community together to help the local non-profit, along with some friendly competition between the school’s four houses (Hiawatha, Mohawk, Seneca, and Tawasentha) to see which one can collect the most donations.

This year’s cereal box dominos spanned throughout FMS.

This year’s cereal box dominos was organized differently as FMS math teachers Todd Hanson, Rebecca Been, Mary Grace Judge and Stephanie Cambrea decided to expand the event beyond the eighth grade. This was due to feedback teachers received last year during the school’s Winter Spirit Competition, as students wanted more interaction and involvement with all grade levels. Moreover, the middle school math teachers believed they could make a bigger impact by bringing over 1,200 students together to work towards a shared goal that benefited the Guilderland community.

With all FMS students participating in this year’s event, Mr. Hanson, Ms. Been, Ms. Judge and Ms. Cambrea recognized the potential for more donations compared to previous years. This meant several adjustments would have to be considered, including the location and route of the cereal box dominos. The team of educators put their math skills to the test once donations started to come in, planning a pathway with the entire school as their canvas. The final layout featured a total of 978 unopened boxes of cereal that connected the four FMS houses, symbolizing the power of teamwork and unity amongst students. The total was a school record, with Seneca winning the house competition by collecting a total of 318 boxes alone.

“This will last us at least a year,” said John McDonald, executive director of the Guilderland Food Pantry, as students and staff loaded boxes of donated cereal onto a truck for the organization.

Students and staff collected the unopened boxes of cereal at the end of the dominos and packed them to be transported to the Guilderland Food Pantry.

In addition to helping the local community, the non-profit is part of the Guilderland Backpack Program. Each week, the program sends elementary and middle school students home with backpacks containing items for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and cereal is a staple item that is generally included.

Students and staff helped load the truck with donations for the Guilderland Food Pantry after the event.

“It feels great anytime you’re able to help someone that needs it, it feels even better when you know the people you’re helping. To know that the cereal is being put right back into our schools and the people near us is very meaningful,” said Mr. Hanson.

A record of 978 unopened boxes of cereal were collected this year.

Collaboration with the community has always been central to the success of cereal box dominos, and that theme played a significant role this year. Not only did the FMS community come together, but local businesses such as Phillips Hardware contributed by supplying boxes to collect donations and providing use of their truck to transport the items to the Guilderland Food Pantry. Mr. Hanson, Ms. Been, Ms. Judge and Ms. Cambrea were all amazed by the results of this year’s cereal box dominos, each offering their own perspective on what this event means to not only students, but the Guilderland community as a whole:

“In my 20 years at Farnsworth, this is the first time I can remember the whole school community simultaneously participating in an event together. To be able to come together as an entire school with such a great goal, being able to help so many people, and seeing our students having fun during the process is why we’re all here,” Todd Hanson, FMS math teacher.

“There are not many opportunities given to students to be able to come together as an entire community to help others. This event is a wonderful way to teach students about kindness and the impact they can have on their community while still having fun with it. Watching our students grow in this way means everything,” Rebecca Been, FMS math teacher.

“The cereal box challenge and dominos has been such a great experience for our school community. The lessons learned through this experience are ones that are necessary for our students as they learn and grow,” Mary Grace Judge, FMS math teacher.

“It has been great to watch the cereal box dominos challenge grow and evolve from eighth graders collecting cereal boxes during COVID, to an event that involves the entire FMS community. It’s wonderful to see all the students excited as they compete to collect the most boxes, create the dominos chain, and give back to their community in the process. It’s these life lessons in kindness and generosity we hope will stay with students long after they leave FMS,” Stephanie Cambrea, FMS math teacher.

The district is not responsible for facts or opinions contained on any linked site. Some links and features on this site require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Visit the Adobe website to download the free Acrobat Reader. This website was produced by the Capital Region BOCES Engagement & Development Services, Albany, NY. Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved.