MARIETTA, OHIO —As a student, Trenton Napalo is known at Washington State Community College (WSCC) for his status as Student of the Month, his academic performance, and his leadership of the Criminal Justice (CJ) Club. Beyond the WSCC campus, there are 13 children in the community who may not know his name but are very familiar with his desire to show kindness and help them have a merrier Christmas.
Napalo is the president of WSCC’s CJ Club and each year they have two major events, an annual golf scramble that supports a CJ student scholarship fund and a holiday drive that helps homebound elderly members of the community. As the fall semester was nearing its end, the club advisor challenged him to come up with a new holiday community impact event. Napalo realized that, through his work-study job in the Library, he had a direct connection to a group of people who could benefit from the club’s support.
Among his duties in the library, Napalo helps with the WSCC Food Pantry, which provides groceries for students and their families who are struggling to have ample food on their tables. In preparing the pantry boxes, he realized, “If these students are experiencing food insecurity, they might not have the means to give their children a very good Christmas.”
For Napalo, this realization had a profound impact on him because it hit close to home. “Growing up, I wasn’t impoverished, but I wasn’t well off. Just seeing that some kids didn’t get anything for Christmas while other got a lot, never seemed fair to me.” Those memories compelled him to act and he and other members of the CJ Club developed a plan.
“Trenton was very passionate about this project. He was able to relate his idea to the club in such a way that everyone was on board and excited to do whatever was necessary to make it happen,” said CJ Club Advisor and instructor Brenda Duffy. “It shows that he has a big heart and wants to do the right thing for people.”
Working closely with WSCC administration, the club was able to acquire general details about the number of children involved, their ages, and their holiday wish lists. As a result of their efforts, the club collected and wrapped gifts for every child, which meant on Christmas morning there were 13 children who awoke to find presents under the tree.
Napalo is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges. He will graduate this spring with an associate degree in criminal justice and aspires to begin a career in law enforcement as a corrections officer and later advance to deputy.