Students at South Whidbey Elementary School spent a jam-packed Wednesday working on community projects for the school’s first-ever day of service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Kids created cards for senior citizens in assisted living homes, performed maintenance on community trails near the campus and made cookies to be distributed in meals given out by nonprofit organization Whidbey Island Nourishes, among other things.
During the cookie making, students in older grade levels taught younger kids the various steps of the recipe, from chopping cranberries to mixing wet and dry ingredients to rolling the dough.
Brooklyn Simmons and Sadie Rich, a pair of fifth graders, said this collaboration between grade levels is more interesting than working with kids exactly their age. Working with younger kids, they agreed, allows them to teach them responsibility.
The cranberry oatmeal cookies, once baked, will be part of the free meals kids in need receive through Whidbey Island Nourishes.
“We chose them because they’re somewhat healthy and they travel well,” said Jay Freundlich, a teacher involved with the school district’s farm program.
Also that day, kindergarteners walked over to the high school to hand out bracelets they’d made to the senior class. The older students accepted the bracelets with appreciation, with some of them stooping to hug the bracelet-makers. The kindergarteners gathered to sing “The More We Get Together” before heading back to their campus.
South Whidbey Elementary School Principal Susie Richards said the MLK Day of Service was developed for its first run this year and is about “a day on, not a day off.”
An upcoming MLK assembly next week will incorporate parts of the day of service, including photographs documenting the day’s activities. The school’s drama club will present a student-led play during the assembly, and the art club is working on a school-wide art project honoring King’s legacy.
The plan is to continue the MLK Day of Service in the years that follow.