By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
If you recently donated to a food drive, clothing drive, accepted Christmas cookies, admired cleaner roadsides or found some hot cocoa on your door step after the doorbell rang, you might have helped out the ninth graders at Caledonia High School.
Three sections of the ninth grade civics course had students making a positive impact on their community, not only for a final grade but to learn that even a small task can help.
Social studies teachers Robbie Sobczak and Alex Lange created a graded project that required students to find a positive impact on the school or community. It tied into the civics curriculum, giving students an opportunity to give back and serve their community, Sobczak explained.
Lange said it was an important project because students can see that “even little things can add up.”
“They have the power to create change for the better,” he said.
Students were graded in four categories: collaboration and workload, originality, impact on the community and their presentation. Lange added the project required students to work consistently over about two months. It’s a large percent of their final grade.
Team members Sarah Babinski and Tyra Moore passed out Christmas cards to local nursing homes and senior living. They said it is important to connect with the elderly generation.
“Even simple things like passing out Christmas cards can make someone’s day a thousand times better,” they wrote to the Argus. The project also taught them about team work and presenting.
The team of Jade Miller, Liv Myhre and Libby Morey worked on a clothing drive. The three students collected 475 items and donated them to the Salvation Army and Houston County’s closet, a local clothing collection.
Though the project choice was easy, they had to work around a few obstacles and learned that things don’t always go as planned. Further than that, the team learned “if you put your mind to something and put time into it, you can achieve your goal, and maybe over-achieve it as well.”
Perhaps most eye-opening was the fact that “there are people right in my community that need assistance, and we may not even realize that.”
“I didn’t know how many local people were in need,” they told the Argus. “Also the little things like a hat, coat, or pair of gloves makes a big difference in their lives.”
Both teachers were impressed by the scope and success students had. Projects included roadside clean up, clothing drive, food drives, and even a group that ding-donged ditched houses and left hot cocoa on peoples’ doors.
“The creativity that these students showed in their efforts is amazing,” Sobczak said.
Lange said he was impressed with how much donations groups were able to collect. The clothing drive was extremely successful, in addition to multiple food drives that will donate the food to the Houston County Food Shelf.
“In my opinion this is the most important project I can assign to these students,” Sobczak said. “The goal of the project is to show these ninth graders that it doesn’t take much to make a grand impact on your community, and that a lot of joy comes with giving back.”