Friday, October 15, 2010

Thinking Big when planning Service Projects

In a recent lunch with twenty two 8th grade Peer Leaders, students were tasked with defining their service work for their final year at Parker Middle School. The guiding questions were fairly simple: What service work do you as Peer Leaders want to do this year? And what activities or projects do you think would make a difference in the lives of people in our community, in the state or possibly in other parts of the world? Students were encouraged to think big, to think about how they could lead or participate in an activity that could have a positive effect on our school community.

The talk started slowly, some students thought of and talked about activities that we have participated in the past, and then one quiet young student asked, “…Wait a minute, can we do something to help someone at our school?...” And I replied “absolutely!” Meghan Barry, Kate Mignosa, Sarah Bond and Meghan Zeigler suggested that they could lead and organize a student group to participate in the ALS Walk for Mrs. Peach. Mrs. Peach was our cafeteria manager who was diagnosed with ALS last spring. They continued to talk and plan and asked further if something could be done here at Parker; in addition to the walk. At the end of the conversation we had the beginnings of a two-part plan that became a school assembly to present the first annual Parker Middle School Hero’s Among Us award to Mrs. Peach and also a student group that participated in the ALS Walk on October 3rd. At the assembly, students led the ceremony speaking brilliantly about Mrs. Peach, her dedication, service and commitment to “…her kids…” the students of Parker Middle School. It was a wonderful day!

At the ALS Walk (see the video below), we had 44 students and 10 teachers who participated as part of the 137 person team that represented Cheryl Peach. The team raised over $17,000.00 for ALS research and it was a terrific day to be part of such a thoughtful service project that touched someone so close to us.

A take away here for our student leaders is, think big, be committed to what you want to do for yourself and others. Share your ideas and your enthusiasm for the work and great things can happen. The school assembly and the service walk would not have taken place had it not been for our student leaders. We are so very proud of our Peer Leaders and especially eighth grade student leaders, Meghan Barry, Kate Mignosa, Sarah Bond and Meghan Zeigler. They are such a fine representation of the community and of our work here as educators!


  1. As of last week's E-Mail from Mr. Peach, the team has now raised over $22,000! Amazing! Way to go, team!

  2. You can view the school-wide assembly honoring Mrs. Peach on iTunes podcasts. Our school channel is called, Parker Middle School's Books and Beyond.

  3. nice blog and great topic, again this year for the 7th year, grade 8 students will bring in mittens, hats etc for Lawlor Kindergarten in Lawrence!! Between Thanksgiving and CHristmas we will have our annual Mitten Tree to which kids and staff have always dibtated generously