History department competes for the winners circle

A bulletin board with cut-outs of history teachers Annie Wayland and Jeff Chazen with big numbers written over their heads lines the walls of the Social Studies hallway. The numbers on the wall represent the canned goods collected and donated to local food pantry Circle of Concern.

“Circle of Concern’s mission is to feed the hungry and provide assistance to low-income families living in west St. Louis County,” Wayland said. “They service about 2,000 families per month.”

For 10 years, the Social Studies  Department has donated to COC, but Wayland and Chazen added a twist when they made the donations a competition four years ago.

2,775 collected items ready to be donated.

“Since adding the competition part, we have tripled the amount of items donated to COC,” Chazen said. “The highest amount of items we donated was 4,889 items in 2014.”

Chazen described Wayland as “tough and relentless,” while Wayland described Chazen as “intense and heckless.”

“Chazen often trash talks and tries to rally the troops, and he is pretty successful at it. It seems like a lot of students jump on board the competitive nature,” Wayland said.

The department divides into teams.  Team Chazen consisted of  Kristen Collins, Jim Hermann, Amy Thornhill and John Wright.

“We have a very tight knit department, so it always gets competitive,” Collins said. “In attempt to collect more cans, I made it a competition amongst my three AP World classes ensure we beat Wayland.”

The members of Team Wayland were Nancy Sachtleben, Zaven Nalbandian, Mel Trotier and Laura Boles.

“I’ve been on Team Wayland every year,” Nalbandian said. “I think what makes our team successful is that she’s enthusiastic, encouraging and always has a plan.”

Team Chazen collected 1,005 items, but team Wayland was victorious with 1,770 items. 

“I am currently 4-0, however, no doubt the real winners are Circle of Concern,” Wayland said.  “We are incredibly grateful for our colleagues and students that participate in this cause.The impact on the families that get to receive these items are far greater than we could imagine.”