‘Do what is right’ - Kids, volunteers celebrate MLK
Though postponed by severe weather, the principle, “Do what is right,” is too important to let lapse.
It was the theme to which students and teachers at Fountain Hill ES welcomed community volunteers for a morning of education and reflection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 25.
Part of the Cops ‘n’ Kids Literacy Program, the event was supported by a grant from PPL that provided an age-appropriate book for each student at the school – 580 in all. Under the direction of Fountain Hill Elementary Community School Director Paige Hoffman, the morning’s activities engaged all the children in every class. After a brief orientation, volunteers fanned out to the classrooms, carrying copies of books that would spark conversations about respect and cooperation. The agenda was the same everywhere: the volunteer read the book to the class, then asked the kids to comment on its content and its possible meaning to their school and themselves. Finally, the children drew pictures illustrating the meaning of cooperation. These were collected to make a display of the school’s commitment to Dr. King’s message.
The volunteers included 11 employees of PPL, 19 players on Moravian College athletic teams (men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and football), and three Moravian College coaches. A visitor was impressed at how relaxed the undergraduates seemed. They had done this before, they explained. This year they visited Thomas Jefferson School and William Penn School. Also, Moravian teams have participated in Martin Luther King Day events at Fountain Hill ES for three years. Ms. Hoffman commented that Moravian has become a “school partner” of Fountain Hill.
What happens when a tall young man squeezes himself onto a third-grade size chair and tells 20 kids, “I’m going to read you a story”? When C.J. Barnes did it, the room very quiet. All eyes were on C.J. and the picture book he held up for everyone to see. The book tells the story of an ordinary child – ordinary Mary – who steps up to help several neighbors, five in all. Each person is so grateful that he/she decides to help another five people. The process spreads until eventually billions of people (the book says) are involved. Appropriately the book’s title is “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed.”
When C.J. put questions about the story to the class, lots of hands went up. The final question seemed to generate the most interest: “If you do a kind thing for one person every day, how could it make our school/world a better place?” Adults may consider that impossible, but the students in Ms. Christine Andrew’s third-grade class were ready with ideas.