Students at Heber Hunt Elementary began their Thanksgiving holiday with a school-wide celebration.
The carnival, which took place in the school’s gym, was held in honor of a recent service-learning project completed by Heber Hunt second-graders. Teacher Stephanie Holsten said the project began with a food collection. Each class competed to see who could bring in the most items. Holsten said the food drive benefits Open Door.
Service-learning, which is used often at Heber Hunt, is a method of teaching that connects school-based curriculum with the inherent caring and concern young people have for their world. Other projects have included collecting blankets for the animal shelter and an award-winning recycling program.
After collecting the non-perishable food items, the students used counting and graphing to track each grade level’s progress during the collection. The learning process continued with students learning about natural resources and countries where they are limited. The students also honed their writing skills by making flyers encouraging their peers to donate food.
Holsten said the food item goal was 2,500, but she thought they may have fallen slightly short of the goal.
Hunter Sparks, 7, said she was proud of the school’s accomplishment in collecting food. Hunter said the total amount of cans brought in was 1,265 and 752 of those were donated by second graders.
“I’m so proud,” she said.
Second-grader Trinity Fletcher, 8, said she enjoyed the project because she likes to help people. “We are helping people that are poor,” she said.
During the carnival, the students used the donated food to play a variety of games overseen by second graders. Students raced shopping carts through cones, bowled with turkeys and raced to stack cans into a pyramid.
Valerie Breshears, 8, manned the turkey bowling station.
“I am having fun,” she said. “I got to hold a real live dead turkey.”
Hunter helped with the turkey bowling station as well. Hunter said she was demonstrating the game, setting up pins and teaching her fellow students how to bowl.
“I like the teaching part,” she said.
While Valerie was enjoying the festivities, the real meaning behind the event wasn’t lost on the elementary students.
“It feels good to help people,” Valerie said.
Heber Hunt Guidance Counselor Jill Peterson watched as the children enjoyed the games. Peterson, who has played a large role in incorporating service learning at the school, said she is pleased with the results the projects have on the students.
Peterson said she believes service learning teaches the students to be more caring and to be more aware of the world around them.
“I think we’ll be sending students out into the world that are dedicated to helping,” she said.