BROOKVILLE — Members of the Brookville Area School Board applauded Hickory Grove students and teachers Monday night for a recently completed project to help students they’ve never seen.
Hickory Grove Principal Andy Collins said, “When we recognized the need” for what is happening in Ukraine, “our school came together and said, ‘Let’s really try to help somehow. of another.’ Sometimes it’s easy to ask for donations and just send money. Knowing that schools near Ukraine were “short of supplies” due to the number of Ukrainians seeking refuge, students at Hickory Grove decided to collect school supplies as part of a service-learning project.
Ainsley Blake, Joe Brosius, Jocelyn Gardner, Claren McQuown and Landon Smith, accompanied by teachers Jill McLaughlin and Cortney McQuown, described their project to the school board. In their slideshow, they said: “Ukrainian students had to flee their country because of the war between Russia and Ukraine. We felt that education was important and would help children have a sense of normalcy in their lives. »
Collins said the goal of the project was “to get two boxes per grade level and send them to a country near Ukraine.” He said counselor Kristen Drake and teacher Heidi Afton “worked hard to find direct contact, which is really important. We don’t just send these supplies somewhere and hope they arrive in the right place to help students. We have a direct contact who will make sure these supplies get to the right people.
He said one concern was “how much is it going to cost to ship those eight boxes nearly 5,000 miles from Brookville?” CM2 students have found the solution.
They learned to write business letters through the project and sent the letters to local businesses asking for monetary donations to help cover shipping costs. Grade five students sent 34 letters and have now received $2,670 from 17 donations.
The total shipping cost for the eight boxes of school supplies was “just over $1,480. The remaining money will be used to purchase and ship additional supplies,” they said.
The boxes should reach their destination in two or three weeks, Collins said.
Every grade level in Hickory Grove participated in the project. Third-grade students collected pencils and notebooks. Tissues and pencils were collected by fourth-grade students. Construction paper and scissors were donated by fifth graders and sixth graders completed the collection with glue and crayons.
Looking back at the success of the project, Collins said, “When you help someone, it always turns out to be bigger and better than you thought. And that’s exactly what happened here. This is a proud moment for our school. It’s a proud moment because everyone at school was working together. It was our community. It was our family that sent supplies. I can’t say enough good things about this project. I think our community and school working together is exactly how it’s gotten bigger and better than we thought.
School board chairman Don Gill said: “It goes without saying that this is huge for the community, the community coming together and supporting our children, and our children supporting other communities. I told the kids that I’m proud of them and their classmates because of what they’ve done, all the hard work they’ve put into it. Seeing them doing things out of their element sometimes makes us want to do things out of our element. I applaud them, I appreciate their efforts and I hope it will continue.
“I want to thank the students, first and foremost; also their teachers and parents,” said board member Erin Schiafone. “It doesn’t come out of nowhere. Congratulations to all of you.”
Board member Fred Park said, “I believe one thing — we all have the opportunity to do is make a difference in someone else’s life. This activity certainly demonstrates that. Watching this unfold, I don’t believe there is anything more meaningful than having activities based on the things we learn in class and putting them into practice. It was a great project that has an impact on our students, but also on students 5,000 miles away.
Board member Chris Rhodes said, “I am moved by what the community, the school district, these students have done. it really touched me. How you make the world a better place is one random act of kindness at a time. Good work.”