HILLSBORO, Mo. — Studying or taking a test on an empty stomach makes learning quite the challenge. So a school resource officer in Hillsboro, Missouri, thought of a way to help.

The officer, Scott Ehrdard, set up a basket tournament called the “Scott the Cop Classic” at Grandview High School that’s helping a non-profit organization feed kids throughout the area.

On Thursday, graduating seniors will don their caps and gowns and go their separate ways — but not before remembering the success of Ehrdard’s charity basketball tournament.

“I started out freshman year with Scott, and sophomore year was the first time he did the ‘Scott the Cop Classic,'” said senior Kiersten Brown. “I ended up helping selling T-shirts and getting logos, and our sports team tried to get involved when possible. I did that junior year. I never played just because it’s not for me. But I’ve always helped behind the scenes.”

Last year, Ehrhard said the tournament raised $3,200. This year, it raised $7,200. The money is being donated to Brendan’s Friday Backpacks, a non-profit that provides free food to kids over the weekend.

“Feels good,” said Ehrhard, also a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy. “You get into law enforcement to help people and make a difference, and I had the platform to do that as an SRO (school resource officer).”

During the lunch hour at Grandview on Tuesday, Ehrhard talked with teens about the next chapter of their lives and the unique perspective they all experienced at the high school.

“Really amazing person to be around,” senior Austin Gallaway said of Ehrhard. “He makes sure you feel safe and you’re having fun, and he doesn’t want you to worry about all the assignments all the time and the high school struggle. So, he’s made the experience a lot better. He’s helped a lot of things at our school which is really nice.”

The students said they’re happy they all came together to make a big impact with Brenden’s Friday Backpacks.

“We raised over $7,000 this year,” said Kierston Brown. “Coming from a school where there’s 200 of us in the middle of nowhere, it’s pretty cool to get a bunch of us together who want to help out.”