The month of March reminded us that winter was not over yet – our students and staff experienced delays and a cancellation due to snowy and icy weather. Some of our seniors who are slated to graduate in June reminded me that snow days are a blessing to “stressed-out seniors” (their words), recognizing that the make-up days in June will not affect their graduation date of June 6!
As I continued to spend time in our schools meeting with staff and visiting classes, it became readily apparent how invested our students are in their learning and co-curricular/extracurricular activities. In addition to demonstrating ongoing learning in their reading, math, and content area coursework, students at various grade levels also engaged in higher level thinking through experiences within the specialty area subjects (music, art, technology education, etc.). In one technology education classroom, students collaborated with each other while building individual projects using a variety of tools and procedures. They were invested in the success of their partner’s project as much as their own. As I walked around the classroom interacting with students in the learning process, I witnessed numerous students communicating and collaborating with each other. When one student began using the tool incorrectly, a peer redirected her and modeled the accurate procedure.
The students’ interest and skill sets exhibited in the specialty areas offer a testament to the significance of co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Many of our students spend hours outside of the school day engaged in activities related to music, theater, athletics, clubs, etc. Most recently, some of our middle school and high school students offered a talented performance in their schools’ musicals. Sitting in the audience watching the high school performance of The Pirates of Penzance, I was truly amazed at the talent of our students. The same applies to our students’ performance on the athletic courts, pool, and fields, and on the pottery wheel or art canvas. The number of students recognized in March for their artistic achievements in the Scholastic Art Show and Lancaster County Young Artists illustrates this talent.
Our students also demonstrated incredible community outreach through their fundraising efforts for Four Diamonds and Penn State Children’s Hospital. The middle school students raised $28,979.79, almost tripling last year’s fundraising efforts. The high school students raised $107,588.66 – over half a million dollars has been attained over a 7 year period! And the high school Key Club received the following recognitions for its service and leadership to the community:
- most service hours by a club in PA (3,595.5 hrs.), with the 3rd highest hours per member average (45.51 hrs.);
- most money raised toward our Youth Serving Youth Project in PA ($2,848.09), with the highest amount raised per member average ($36.05);
- one of four distinguished clubs in the state, honor given to clubs with outstanding overall service, fundraising, and leadership;
- Bill Brandamore Kiwanis Family Award for the club’s work with the Lititz Area Kiwanis Club; and
- UNICEF Banner Patch for raising $625 for The Eliminate Project (helping to eradicate neonatal/maternal tetanus in third world countries).
These examples of community support exemplify our students’ desire for helping others.
One final example of community outreach occurred in our elementary knitting club at Reidenbaugh Elementary. The students invited me to join them on a cold Thursday afternoon for knitting scarves and other items. The elementary club had previously donated hundreds of their self-created scarves to the Lancaster YWCA for the Wrap Up, Lancaster! project that is now in its third year of “scarf-bombing” needy areas of the city and Columbia Borough. This act of giving was even highlighted in an article by Lancaster Newspapers in February.
Our students continue to make us proud in so many ways.