MOUNT CARMEL - A senior honor student at Mount Carmel Area Junior-Senior High School has donated $612 to match a donation from a school-sponsored event he co-organized.

Luke Duceman recently handed a check worth $1,224 to Pastor James Bowers, who leads God's Chuck Wagon, a mobile soup kitchen that makes weekly stops in local communities, including Mount Carmel, Kulpmont and Shamokin.

Half of the money was raised in November during the high school's seventh annual Haunted High, a two-night attraction that involved 33 volunteers and was led by Duceman and junior Johanna Rompallo. Around 250 people attended.

Duceman and Rompallo pulled off the event in one week and without the help of an adviser. An adviser was unavailable because the teachers union had been "working to rule," which meant they didn't volunteer their time outside contracted school hours in protest of contract negotiations. That's when high school principal Lisa Varano and Superintendent Bernie Stellar stepped in to help, Duceman said.

Mobile soup kitchen

Duceman said he and Rompallo had always intended for a local non-profit to benefit, but decided on God's Chuck Wagon after viewing the bus that is used to serve 200 people weekly.

"The fact that they are able to go around and feed hundreds of people around the coal region is astounding," Duceman said. "I think it's an amazing thing they're doing. It's not a very usual thing to see a mobile soup kitchen."

Last year's admissions fees to Haunted High and donations generated a little more than $1,000; however, expenses lowered the profit to $612. Duceman felt obligated to do more.

"I just feel as a citizen of Mount Carmel and the area, it's my duty," Duceman said of matching the donation. "I didn't think $612 is a lot of money. I wanted to give more. It feels good to donate."

Duceman, a son of Chris and Dot Blase, of Mount Carmel, and Rich Duceman, of Aristes, plans to attend Susquehanna University in the fall to major in music education.