In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we spoke with Lynnette Hollis, an instructor in the Freshman Transition Academy at Delcastle High School in Wilmington, DE, about the school’s inspiring service project, the Soul to Sole Sock Drive. Hollis is also the adviser of the school club Leading Ladies Empowerment Group and the heart behind the service project. Below, she shares her insights on the club’s sock drive, its impact, and empowering student voices. 

The 2023 Sole to Soul Sock Drive. Credit: Cassia Huff, Delcastle Digital Media

Tell us about this special service project. 

The Soul to Sole Sock Drive is our way of giving back this Thanksgiving. We’re collecting socks for people experiencing homelessness in our community, a need that shelters do not often fill. For many of these folks, their feet are their main mode of transportation, taking them to their next meal or their job interview, so these socks make a real difference. Last year, we had 200 pairs. Thanks to our students’ leadership, this year, we’ll have over 600 socks, each gift wrapped so each recipient knows it’s a gift of love from every student at Delcastle.  

How do you get students involved in this project? 

By listening to the students. We ask them what they want, then work with student leaders to distill a viable plan that will produce the best outcome. When you listen to kids and pursue their vision without fear, you will be so surprised – they will fly. If we allow our students just to lead us, we have so much fun, and we learn so much from them. All our work is so much more engaging for students because they feel that they are heard. There’s nothing wrong with leading from an adult’s perspective, but if we want more kids to be involved, we have to teach them to be leaders, give them the tools, and not be afraid to let them navigate.  

How does your school foster collaboration between your NHS chapter, student council, and the broader school community? 

Dr. Justin Comegys, our principal, is tremendous at building a strong climate in our school and is determined to set students up for success. He believes in student leadership and allows advisers to create programming that fosters classroom and school culture that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.  It’s such a positive and welcoming environment that teachers look for opportunities to connect and pour into students. We rally around each other and collaborate with the student council, NHS, Latinos Unidos, our Black Student Union, and many more groups to empower students to amplify their voices and achieve their greatest selves.