By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe
Vicksburg Middle School Student Senate Serve and Create “Fun Fridays”
While many of the activities Vicksburg Middle School students usually promote were cancelled this year, members still worked on a service project and promoted some fun for everyone in the building. Melissa Tutt, the group’s advisor, said meetings have been limited, but the students did make five blankets for a fire station in Battle Creek, a project that has existed for several years. Tutt says the students are excited because they get to deliver the blankets this year. “Places we have donated to in the past haven’t allowed us to deliver them ourselves. We will not be able to go inside the fire station, but they will be able to come outside, and the students can give them their gifts.”
Tutt’s group also decided to create activities that encourage everyone to have a little fun. Students came up with a list of fun things for students and staff to do on Fridays. The group labelled it “Fun Fridays.” Senate members select a theme from an approved list. The theme is announced on Monday so students have all week to decide what they will be wearing. Some of this year’s themes include hat day, favorite television/movie T-shirt day, wear a specific color by grade day, and mix-matched clothing day. The activities generate some excitement and are allowed because participants can remain six feet apart.
In April, the group will plan for teacher appreciation week, and Tutt remains optimistic the students can include one more activity before the end of the year.
Indian Lake Elementary Students Help as They Can
Most of Indian Lake Elementary Student Council activities have been done virtually this year. Diana Haring, the group’s advisor, said that while it has been an adjustment, her students have created and continued activities to improve their school.
This year, students have written and recorded announcements for teachers to play. They have promoted spirit days while students were in school face-to-face, and for days when the district’s schools were shut down during the pandemic. The school’s spirit week before the holiday break included festive hat day, holiday socks day, ugly sweater day, elf day, and pajama day.
The students purchased social/emotional tools for classrooms and held a virtual talent show last spring, with one in the works for this year. One project the group worked on for the whole year is assisting with building recycling. Students collect the recycling materials from classrooms and offices and take it to the recycling dumpster.
Haring acknowledges that there haven’t been the usual “monthly” projects the group has done in the past, “but we are helping our school where we can during this pandemic.”
Sunset Lake Lighthouse Team Meets Virtually and Plans to Grow
Michelle Malito and Kristina Newhouse, staff advisors for Sunset Lake’s Lighthouse Team, hope to increase the group’s size for next year. This year, the group student leaders, committed to making a positive contribution to their school, held virtual bi-weekly meetings. During this time, students sit in the hallway with their headphones and Chromebooks. Malito said they also have two fully virtual students who are part of the group and join the scheduled meetings.
Even with the challenges of COVID, this year’s group has been busy. Emma Welch, a 4th grade Lighthouse Team member describes this year’s efforts. “In February we did a black history event by highlighting a famous black American in history on morning announcements for all the school days. Also in March we created a calendar for the ‘March is Reading Month’ theme. In April we plan on doing a Sunset Lake Elementary school Earth Day service which is still being decided by the Student Lighthouse Team.”
The pandemic limited the group’s recruitment at the end of the last year so this year’s group was smaller. The applications for next year’s group, which includes teacher recommendations, begin in May. Malito intends to grow the group for next year, including students from every grade level.
By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe