Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kids With Character - Citizenship in the Form of Community Service

by Mrs Hardisty, Health/ Physical Education Teacher

Citizenship is alive and well in Ashford. There is a requirement for health class that is part of our Character Education program. Each student must complete a three-hour service project, outside of the school day. Students have a large variety of options from which to choose, and some choose a large variety. More than half our junior high population traditionally completes more than one service project, even though it’s not required. This reflects on their outstanding character and commitment. They recognize that others provided opportunities for them when they were small, and that they can do the same in return.

So far this year students have volunteered at Family Fun Day, the PTO Ice Cream Social and the Halloween Party. PTO Chairpersons, Mrs. York from Ashford Park and Recreation and Mrs. McDonough from Ashford Youth Services all rely on older students to help run the activities at these community-wide events. They are not disappointed. Kids have also provided childcare services to staff for our half-day professional development and during parent/teacher conferences. An 8th grade girl manned the K-12 Early Alert table at Open House for two nights. Several boys volunteered at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as “bike valets” for those who rode 15 to 50 miles for a fundraiser. We also had one student and one staff member participate in the ride. We always have a strong showing at the Relay for Life. This year was not different. One young lady baked and then sold the proceeds during the Relay. She contributed $397.00 to the American Cancer Society. Another young lady helped at the Hartford Marathon and an 8th grade boy took on the messy job of cleaning up his road.

Two exciting projects are ongoing. Four 8th grade girls are working together on a “Mitten Tree.” They will be collecting new mittens, gloves, scarves, hats and socks to distribute both locally and regionally before the winter break. Five 7th grade boys have taken on the daunting task of raising the funds to purchase a kinetic sculpture by local artist David Roy. They hope to mount it in the lower lobby for all to see, wonder at, and enjoy during community events. Look for their fundraising ideas through the year and support them when you can.

Finally, not to be out done, the 6th graders accepted the annual responsibility of collecting for UNICEF. They always have a little help from junior high students, which is appreciated. With six boxes still uncounted, they exceeded their goal and reached a current total of $608.40. One student earned special recognition for his sole contribution of $333.80. Ben C. has truly gone above and beyond the call of duty!

Junior high students are ready, willing and able to perform community service to help Ashford School be the best little school possible!