Elkhart students learn character education through activities that engage their hearts and minds in solving important problems. Activities at all grade levels encourage participation in community concerns, ranging from canned goods, toys or blood drives to highway clean-ups and book donations.
Beginning in elementary school, students attend weekly assemblies that generate enthusiasm for character values such as responsibility, kindness, respect, and citizenship. Young students, Kindergarten to Grade 2, learn by watching speeches, role plays and celebrations about character traits
Elkhart Schools encourage their 1,200 students to stay involved as they progress through each of the four campuses. The Elkhart Middle School Student Council raised non-perishable food in November for United Charities of Elkhart, a joint effort between churches that serve residents of Elkhart and Slocum.
Madison Perry, eighth-grader, vice president of the college’s student council, spoke about why student food donations are important.
“There are a lot of people who aren’t as fortunate as we are with food,” said Perry. “And we thought that some donation of cans would be really beneficial for them.”
Student participation also includes assistance with the loading, unloading and storage of pantry items throughout the year by different student organizations or campuses so that everyone has a chance to participate. At all levels, students develop their citizenship.
Superintendent Lamont Smith of Elkhart Schools said student organizations and their sponsors collaboratively determine which services to adopt.
“We believe that if we educate our students about the needs of the community and abroad, we can build and inspire our children to have a positive impact on the community, county, state and nation,” Smith said. . “To be a great citizen, you need to give back and respect the people around you. “
High school students participate in organizations such as the marching band or athletics or with college clubs such as the National Honor Society, Interact, Future Teachers of America, the National Art Honor Society, and the Spanish Club. Each group adopts its own project with the support of an advisor.
The Spanish Club recently opened a book collection and library at Anderson County Jail, while middle school students and the high school orchestra took part in the Palestine Veterans Day parade.
Some December projects include College, College, and High School Toys for Tots collections. Future Teachers of America will host a Head Start Christmas Party, and the high school band will participate in retirement home tours and the Christmas Lights Parade in Palestine.
February activities at Elkhart High School include a blood drive organized by the Student Council, Valentine’s Day for Soldiers by the Interact Club, and Valentine’s Day for Veterans by Quill & Scroll, a company of honor for journalism students.
Smith said the Elkhart School District provides students with the opportunity to learn through service learning opportunities.
“Citizenship means that we take care of others and provide resources,” Smith said. “It is also taking charge of projects and bringing them to fruition.
Service learning opportunities over the next three weeks leading up to winter break include donations to Toys for Tots or the school district’s Family Tree, which provides gifts to families in need.
United Charities of Elkhart opens at 9 a.m. on the first Thursday of each month at the First Baptist Church of Elkhart.
For more information on Elkhart Schools, visit www.elkhartisd.org.