A Private School Where Service to Others is a Tradition
Around this time of year we all start thinking about what we can do better, for ourselves, our health or our community. At a small school in the East Valley, doing better for the community is something of a tradition.
While the students at Gethsemane Lutheran School in Tempe tend to test a full grade level ahead, the staff there doesn’t just teach kids reading, writing and arithmetic. Service to others is a year round lesson.
In Kindergarten the students take a day to clean up a park. Learning about the environment and how to help their community is exciting to the young minds.
“If we didn’t clean up and we left all the trash around would it be okay for ducklings to live here?“ Kindergarten Teacher, Susan Burke, asked the class.
The children responded with an emphatic, “no!”
“What we did today helps our duck friends, helps our turtle friends have the life that they deserve,” explained Burke.
Manna bags filled with granola bars, water bottles, socks and other needed items are the second grade’s class project.
“We make the bags for people who need them, like the homeless,” said second grader, Ella.
“God wants us to share what we have with others,” says second grader, Brooke.
Gethsemane families keep the bags in their vehicles, handing them out to the homeless they see on their regular commutes throughout the Valley.
In third grade kids look forward to the chores for charity project. “Kids do chores above and beyond what they would normally do at home to earn extra money,” says Teacher, Marissa Moffit. That money then goes toward a different charity each year. For example students have used it to buy non-perishable food and stocked the shelves at Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank.
The school has many other class and school wide service projects. “At Gethsemane we’re not just teaching kids to be good student’s we’re teaching them to be good people,” said Principal Lorna McAlpine, “and that may be the most important thing they take away from their preschool through 8th grade experience here.”
Giving back to our community, teaching kids to be good people, now those are some resolutions worth making.