Olympia High student collects teddy bears for OCSO

Senior Jacob Gorberg collected more than 50 teddy bears to donate to children in need with the help of his school’s National Honor Society.

Olympia High senior Jacob Gorberg delivered teddy bears to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Friday, March 15.
Olympia High senior Jacob Gorberg delivered teddy bears to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Friday, March 15.
Courtesy photo
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When Jacob Gorberg was a student at Westbrooke Elementary School, he organized his first teddy bear drive donation for the Ocoee Police Department.

Jacob Gorberg organized his first teddy bear drive when he was a student at Westbrooke Elementary School.
Courtesy photo

Now, as a senior at Olympia High School, Gorberg has come full circle with yet another collection for a good cause. 

With the help of his school’s National Honor Society, Gorberg accumulated more than 50 teddy bears to donate to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for children in need within the county.

“When I was very young, I was a passenger in a car crash,” he said. “The most impactful thing I remember from this experience was the teddy bear that was given to me by a law enforcement officer to comfort me after the crash. I wanted to donate the teddy bears to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, because I was familiar with how they interact with children in the community, and I knew they would have a far-reaching impact.”


Gorberg said the NHS officers had the idea for the teddy bear drive but did not know where to start.

When Gorberg found out about the idea, he approached one of the NHS advisers, Stacie Gelbaugh, to find out what was going on. 

“She explained to me that they had the idea and didn’t know what to do with the teddy bears after the drive would be finished,” he said. “I had organized a teddy bear drive back when I went to Westbrooke for elementary (school), where we donated the teddy bears to (the) Ocoee Police Department. So, I had an idea of how to proceed with the drive.”

Gorberg immediately got to work with the help of more than 300 members of the NHS.

Olympia High School collected more than 50 bears for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Courtesy photo

The collection for the teddy bears ran from March 5 to 13. Boxes for the collection were set up around the school, such as in the offices for students and staff members to help participate.

Gorberg brought the teddy bears to the OCSO Friday, March 15.

“We want to express our immense gratitude to these students and teachers for their generosity and support towards our community,” OCSO officials shared in a social media post following the donation. “Thank you for making a difference.”

Gorberg said the NHS and its members always are happy to give back to the community when they can.

“The intent of this project was to give the teddy bears to children in need, and this way, law enforcement now has more teddy bears to go to children who may be going through some type of traumatic event, whether it be a car crash or something worse where they need this kind of comfort,” he said. “I am glad that I was able to do something personally meaningful to me.”

“We are incredibly grateful to Jacob and the National Honor Society students of Olympia High School for the generous donation of teddy bears to our agency,” OCSO officials said in a prepared statement. “These teddy bears will be given to our patrol deputies, who will distribute them to children, bringing smiles and comfort during challenging times. The support, through initiatives like this, helps strengthen our bonds with the community and highlight the importance of compassion and empathy in our work.”

Jacob Gorberg's mother, Christy, is the principal at Olympia High School.
Courtesy photo


The officers from the OCSO aren’t the only ones grateful for Gorberg. 

His mother, Christy Gorberg, principal at OHS, said she is proud of her son. She said he is a wonderful person who always puts others first. 

“Jacob has such a big heart and truly believes in paying it forward and helping where he can,” she said. “He is particularly passionate about the teddy bear collection and wanting to get the bears to children in their time of need. I am extremely proud of him for his dedication and follow through to make this happen.”

In addition to his membership with the NHS, Jacob Gorberg is on the weightlifting team,  a four-year varsity football player (offensive lineman) and serves as a Student Government Association officer.

“National Honor Society is a prestigious organization to be a part of, and it is truly an honor to be a part of it,” he said. “I have been a member since my junior year, which is when students at our school become eligible to join. To me, it means to be of service to the school and the community, giving back in whatever way we can, whether it be through a campus beautification day or volunteering at a local elementary school.”

He signed in February to play football at Valparaiso University next year. He plans to major in political science in college.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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