BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The 16th annual SOCKS Day, held April 26, brought smiles and gratification to students and staff at Independence Elementary as everyone pitched in to help the local community.
SOCKS is an acronym for Serving Our Community Kids Style and was started by the school’s Literacy Coach, Corena Bell.
“The idea was taking the curriculum that we use in the classroom and using it as something for community outreach,” said Kelly Duty, a parent chair of SOCKS Day, along with Allyson Hemsworth. “It’s an academic service learning project, essentially, so we’re taking ideas from the classroom and implementing them into community outreach projects.”
At this year’s SOCKS Day, the Young Fives painted field stones, planted seeds and painted birdhouses that will be placed in an area of the school that was destroyed by construction last year. Some of the seed plots will also be donated to the Clarkston Family Farm.
In addition, kindergarten students made toiletry bags for Grace Centers for Hope, first-grade students made dog toys, dog bandanas and cards for Canine Companions Rescue Center, and also had a four-legged visitor from Paws with a Cause, second graders made care packages and wrote letters for the U.S. Air Force and Army, third-grade students packed homemade muffins and cards for Meals on Wheels recipients, fourth graders made fleece blankets for pediatric oncology patients at the Children’s Miracle Network at Beaumont Hospital, and fifth-grade students sang to area senior citizens and also played board games and interviewed their special guests.
U.S. Air Force Major Josh Thompson, the father of three children at Independence Elementary, also spoke to second graders and showed pictures from his 16 years of service. He just returned from a tour of duty in Qatar.
The day ended with a school-wide assembly where fourth-grade student Ty Duffy, a cancer survivor, accepted the blankets that will be delivered to Beaumont. Anne Duffy, Ty’s mother, is a first-grade teacher at Independence Elementary and was the teacher lead for SOCKS Day this year.
Duty noted that over the years, the event has grown exponentially and is a day all the students and staff look forward to.
“A lot of our partners have stayed the same, but our numbers have grown,” she said. “We talk to our community partners to see what their needs are for the year. Some of our projects stay the same, like the blankets, but we partner with the community organizations to see what they need.
“Hands down, this is one of the best days at Independence Elementary. It’s just a really great day to give back to the community.”