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Hill of Hope now a reality for sledders

By Melissa Jamerson and Jessica Wheeler-Ponton

The work of some change-making elementary school students along with dedicated local families is paying off this winter for students at Indian Lake Elementary School in Vicksburg.

Years in the making, the Hill of Hope sledding hill is finally open for winter fun.

Every year second graders at Indian Lake read a book called “Change Makers” written by Libby Martinez. Martinez writes about how youngsters around the world look for ways to improve their community. This book focuses on the ideas that one is never too young to make a difference and that a plan + action = change.

The second grade and the first/second grade combo class of 2020-21 decided to put those theories into practice by proposing a sledding hill for our school community.

The classes designed a hill, shared their ideas with then-Principal Ruth Hook, wrote a Curiosity Grant from the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation to help fund the project. They even created the name.

Through lots of planning and generous work from four amazing families – the Ibisons, Gentzs, Pattersons, and the Richardsons – dirt was hauled, moved, shaped and the mound grew over a six-month period.

The hill has been a huge hit during recess. Some of the teachers and Principal Sarah Bacalia have even tried it out!

While the students were the original change-makers, many local families donated their time and equipment as well as sleds for the students to use. Now they are raising money to build a shed to house the sleds and other supplies.

What’s up next for these change makers? Surely, more good accomplishments especially now that they too believe that a plan + action = change.

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