It has been said today’s school aged students are too often “wrapped up in their own little worlds.” But if given the chance to prove otherwise, they can prove they do care about others and want to serve the community as the Wawasee school board heard during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening in Syracuse.
Wawasee High School students Jada Antonides, Justin Ciriello and Courtney Linnemeier, who each just completed their junior years, gave a presentation to the school board on their community service project for Kosciusko Youth Leadership Academy. Their project with the Special Olympics of Kosciusko County was rated the number one project overall this year for KYLA.
The three students began organizing a fundraiser in November to have two Special Olympics teams scrimmage each other for five minutes during halftime of a boys basketball game Jan. 10. Very few people left the gym during halftime and the crowd was loud in cheering for both teams. A total of $1,385.51 was raised that evening.
Each of the three students said the community service project not only gave them a better appreciation for Special Olympics, but it also challenged them to be leaders in a not so controlled environment where their peers were not present, it opened their eyes to see the world through a different perspective and it pushed them out of their comfort zone.
A group of three Milford School students also showed they care about the community. The Make an Impact project was chosen for Milford Middle School for the first time this spring. Students in grades five through eight chose a topic and developed a project to make an impact. Teacher Mary Brower said the project was student driven and community organizations were brought into the gym one day. “We let the students decide where their passions are and where they wanted to make a difference,” she said.
For the last five days of school, “the books were put away” and Make an Impact was focused on, Brower said.
Students Adriene Gill, Amy Beer and Clara Hardy organized the “clothes with a cause” project. They were inspired after hearing about a student who said they had no money to buy a shirt for their eighth grade graduation. The three researched poverty statistics for the state and county and were surprised when they found out how many families in the county are considered at the poverty level.
A clothes drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 28, at the Syracuse Community Center. One person can purchase up to five items of clothing for 50 cents.
Also at the board meeting Tuesday, the board heard from Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum for Wawasee schools, the ECO Challenge summer camp for at-risk students is underway at the high school and running smoother this year after some difficulties in its first year last year. A total of 24 students signed up for the camp. The board also approved a $10,000 grant from the Dekko Foundation for ECO Challenge.
Summer school reading classes are being offered for grades one to three in the elementary schools, Goshert noted, and are considered category one classes the state will fund.