Making Today Count: Students Serving Others & Making a Difference
During my last Blog I spoke about the positive impact of early learning initiatives on preparing students for school-age learning expectations. These initiatives provide instruction and supports to our families as they work with the school system to acquire important skills and concepts that become stepping-stones to future learning. They also help our school district continue to be a welcoming, responsive organization, and one that values the unique and special relationship between parent/guardian, child, and the school.
The influence of those early stepping-stones for later success in school becomes apparent as students begin to develop and flourish as active learners, and establish themselves as more advanced and/or mature learners within and outside of the school setting. Many of our students begin their schooling in our district and remain with us until graduation. This allows for meaningful relationships to be built between the students, their teachers and other school staff, parents, and the local community. Students also strive to build meaningful relationships with each other. We can gauge their academic and social-emotional progress through the various grade levels, looking at the strengths and areas of need within our curriculum and overall educational programs. Furthermore, we can find alignment between the trusting relationships that were built between students, their families, and our school staff.
Given that many of our students spend much of their educational career in our district, it is essential that we offer experiences to students both in the academic programs and through extracurricular activities that build powerful relationships. Beyond the teacher-student relationship is the coach-student, advisor-student relationship, and the student-community relationship. These interactions help develop character, positive identity and self-esteem, resiliency, and an understanding that everyone’s voice matters. This latter skill is further enhanced in adolescence and adulthood as they share their perspective on important topics with others. The relationships students build from their early years until graduation impact how they view themselves and others, and promote service and leadership mindsets. Students will feel like they can make a difference with their skills, their voice, and a willingness to lead in service to others.
This connection became quite evident when learning about the accomplishments of our secondary level students this month in their fundraising efforts for the Four Diamonds, whose mission is to conquer childhood cancer by assisting children and their families through care, support, and continued research for treatments and cures. Our middle school and high school mini-THONs contributed approximately $151,060.00 to the Four Diamonds! They knew their hard work could make a difference for others. Similarly, our MT High School Key Club students were recently awarded a series of honors for their achievements in service, leadership, and fundraising that greatly impacted the larger community. The accomplishments are as follows:
- Our students had the second highest number of community service hours by any Key Club in PA (specifically, they performed 4,029 hours); students averaged 39.89 hours per person (5th highest hours per member).
- We are one of seven distinguished clubs in the state, nominated for our overall achievement in service, fundraising, and leadership.
- Our students raised the most funds ($3,502.00) to be given to the PA Youth Serving Youth Project, with the focus this year on “Early Childhood Education.” The fundraising helps provide much-needed funds to initiatives at the local and larger community levels.
- Our students also raised funds ($625.00) for the Eliminate Project, a project that brings together the Kiwanis International and UNICEF with the goal to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus in third world countries.
- They were honored with the Bill Brandamore Kiwanis Family Award for their work with the local Lititz Area Kiwanis Club.
- Several students were individually honored for their leadership in a variety of ways.
|MT High School Key Club at their PA Convention||Mini-THONS for the MT Middle School and High School|
We also have individual fundraising and community service projects occurring at our intermediate and elementary school levels, for the purpose of helping others in our local and greater communities. These projects are a testament to the positive relationships between the schools, students, and their families. I’ve spoken about several of these community service projects in past Blogs; in many ways our students continue to share their time, energy, and resources with the local and greater communities. They know their voices matter, and recognize the power of having meaningful, positive relationships with those around them.
Most recently at our Landis Run Intermediate School, we concluded several weeks of a leadership development program for a group of students, sponsored and facilitated by our highly supportive local Compass Mark organization. Students worked with mentors from Compass Mark to develop leadership skills and make a difference in their community. As a result, they built positive relationships with their adult mentors, with each other, and with the larger student body. The culminating activity was the creation of a “Kindness Day” where students (a.k.a. “Kindness Agents”) performed activities and distributed special uplifting messages to others. We even had a special visit by Anne Shannon, reporter from the WGAL News, who provided a highlight of our special leadership program on the local news!
We applaud all of our students for continuing to make a difference, for creating a positive footprint in their local community and beyond.