McClure students transform a stairwell in Queen Anne from this...
McClure students transform a stairwell in Queen Anne from this...
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Students at McClure Middle School are learning firsthand what it means to show compassion in their community. Sixth-grade teacher, Bonnie Powers, designed the curriculum for a character-building course called "Appreciating Differences." She had been trained by the Spokane School District to use "Character Counts" in the classroom before coming to Seattle. The course focuses on six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. During the study of citizenship, students show compassion for others by doing 10 to 15 hours of service for the community.
The results were impressive.
A large number of the students cleaned up homes, yards and parks in the community. Some parents thought the expectations were too tough on their 12-year-old children. However, as the results of their efforts began to show, many students felt proud of their work and appreciated the thanks other people gave them.
Julia Mascarella, who cleaned up the staircase at Queen Anne Avenue North and West Galer Street, was surprised by how many people asked about what she was doing and at how many people wanted to thank her for making it look better.
Alex Kanagusaku wrote letters to American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He found names and addresses on anysoldier.com. At first it was hard for him to think of what to write, but as he went along, it got easier for him to express his gratitude for their personal sacrifices on the behalf of Americans.
Najma Mohammed volunteered at a nursing home and found that she really enjoyed getting to know her new senior-citizen friend. She was there when her friend's family came to visit one day and was surprised to see the way the family talked down to everyone. Her friend admitted that she enjoyed Najma's company more than those family members.
Some other examples of the variety of projects students completed: Adam Gonzales volunteered at an animal shelter, Elliott Hansen volunteered with City Year and made food packages that will be sent to earthquake victims in Haiti, Andrew Jensen cleaned up his block on Queen Anne and Zhi Feng Xie helped a neighbor clean out and vacuum his garage.
After the projects were completed, the students all agreed that these helpful gestures are something they should do all the time, not just as a project.