BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Clarkston Community School’s ongoing efforts to support the local community and help those in need was recognized May 24 during the district-wide Academic Service Learning (ASL) Celebration.
“This is just a time for us to celebrate all of the projects that are going on in the K-12 buildings,” District ASL Coordinator Radhika Issac said. “We invite our community partners to come in and be part of it and just to kind of highlight and take a moment to step back and just revel in the learning that took place this year.”
There were 46 ASL projects completed this year, including 12 school-wide ASL projects, Issac said. There were about 25 to 30 projects presented at the celebration.
“Students are the ones who do the actual showcasing portion of it and it’s just a beautiful time for us just to have the students be the voice of the work that we do with service learning,” Issac said.
A group of Independence Elementary first graders presented their project: Ty’d with Love. It’s named after a teacher’s son from the school, Ty, who had cancer as a young child and the yearly project originated with him.
Presenters Cooper McNaughton, Sloan Oliver and Gwen Oliver said they raised over $2,000 in a penny drive and used it to buy toys to donate to the Survivors Party, a party for young cancer survivors at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “They had a hard time in the hospital and so we got them presents,” Sloan Oliver said.
Andersonville Elementary had two school-wide ASL projects. One raised $1,000 through fundraisers throughout the year to help disabled kids go to SCAMP. The other, Project Spread Love and Warmth, had each grade doing different activities, such as making blankets for hospitalized kids and making toys for shelter dogs.
“We thought maybe it would be nice to donate to other kids that need it,” Andersonville student Olivia Lewis said. Sashabaw Middle School student Bedford Muzzy explained a stepping stone project the sixth-grade class did to benefit Blessings in a Backpack. They made and decorated stepping stones which they can either sell or buy themselves and the money will go towards food for Blessings in a Backpack.
“There are a lot of kids that are hungry over the weekend and that’s why we have Blessings in a Backpack,” Muzzy said. The junior high had an ASL project to honor veterans. Freshman Quinn Angus described the poppy project where history students interviewed a veteran about their service. Students then put the veteran’s name and picture on poppies, which were hung around the school, and also listed their military branch and years of service.
These were just a few of the ASL projects on display during the celebration, where guests walked around and learned from students. Issac said 150 people were in attendance, including Superintendent Rod Rock and Deputy Superintendent Shawn Ryan.
“This is our 14th year as a district with service learning, we began our celebrations at year one, right away,” Issac said. “It’s been going on for 14 years and it’s just grown each year.”