LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hundreds of students at a local high school just finished the biggest assignment of the year, but it doesn't involve tests or classroom work.

They're working to end hunger in parts of Africa. The gymnasium at The Academy @Shawnee was turned into one big food assembly station on Monday.

Senior class president Jenna Mattingly is one of several hundred students, faculty members and volunteers packing meals for orphans in Africa.

"It is just something that we all chose to do," she said.
The goal was 100,000 meals by the end of the day. It was a steep goal, but the constant bell ringing in the gym signaled progress all day long.

"[The bell] means we have a box filled and we can continue, like, we have a box filled and we are one step closer to reaching our goal," Mattingly explained.

"It is an opportunity for our students to learn about citizenship, about giving back," said Dr. Houston Barber, Principal at The Academy @ Shawnee.

The project is a partnership with the organization Kids Against Hunger.  Dr.  Barber says there's no extra credit, but the students were still eager to help. 

"I think here...it becomes intrinsic, internal credit that they get and that is a desire to want to help an outreach for the community," Barber said.

After several hours of sealing bags of food and packing boxes, the totals were in. Dr. Barber delivered the news.

"We had a goal of a hundred thousand...which was really tough," said Dr. Barber. "And I am happy to tell you that we had a 104,000 meals."

"At first, I thought Dr. Barber was going to say we came close to it 'cause of the way he started...we put our heart and soul into it," said Mattingly.

After the minor scare, Mattingly and her classmates felt proud of what they've accomplished. 

"Once he said our goal, we over exceeded, I was really happy," Mattingly said. "104,000 is amazing."

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