Harding Avenue Elementary students celebrate service
BLACKSBURG — Students are often told they’ll be the people who make a difference in the future.
The students at Harding Avenue Elementary School didn’t feel like waiting for that.
For the past three years, fifth graders at the Blacksburg school have created and implemented individual Make-A-Difference service projects.
The differences the latest 46 projects made were put on display in the school’s multipurpose room Friday as they celebrated their annual “Make A Difference Day.”
Fifth-grade teacher Laura Davis said the students began brainstorming ideas for their individual, nine-week projects in January and then put them into practice at the beginning of April. Many students, however, had been looking forward to the assignment long before that.
“It’s become a tradition,” Davis said. “They’re very eager to make a difference.”
Fifth-grader Ruhan Prasad’s eagerness made a $1,200 difference to the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Lodge homeless shelter in Salem. Ruhan said he reached out to friends and family via letters and emails and was surprised how much money came in.
Classmate Tucker Marshall decided she wanted to difference by teaming up with the New River Valley’s branch of Project Linus and created eight fleece blankets to be donated to local children who are sick, traumatized or abused.
Project Linus Chapter Coordinator Penny Sweet was impressed with Tucker’s efforts, as well as her ability at crafting the blankets.
“She could teach a thing or two to these college kids,” Sweet said.
Meredith Goye was also busy creating items over the nine weeks. Her project resulted in 16 knit hats which she said will be donated to premature babies at Carilion Hospitals.
Reece Evans and his father built a 10-foot see-saw, which he used outside of local businesses to draw attention to his food/supply drive. As a result, he said he was able to donate close to 600 items to the Salvation Army.
While most of the projects focused on local needs, Steven Ansely made a difference halfway around the world.
Steven decided to raise enough money to adopt two red pandas through the Red Panda Network. Though a proud new parent, Steven said Tenzing and Sanju will remain in their home in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.
Trevor Ierardi made a difference a little closer to home, choosing to support a cause which reaches within the walls of his own house.
Trevor’s 12-year-old brother Nolan has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of Autism, so Trevor decided to raise money by creating and selling colorfully decorated Autism puzzle piece pins. Through his efforts, Trevor was able to donate $246.64 to New River Valley Community Services, which has a variety of programs for autistic people and their families.
“They are very proud of themselves,” Davis said of the students and their efforts.
She said she hoped that pride would plant a seed in each of the students and encourage them to continue making a difference well into their futures.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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