PreK, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade got a special Valentine’s treat when some Upper School students and 6th graders joined them to make Valentine’s cards.
The event was the brainchild of sophomore Angela LoRusso, who also came up with the idea during Spirit Week’s Superhero day when Upper School students dressed up and read to Lower School. “I came up with that when I saw a video of people doing that with kids in the hospital for the Make A Wish Foundation,” Angela said. “Lower School really loved that event, so they asked us back to do something again, and since Valentine’s Day was coming up I thought it’d be nice to make cards with them.”
1st grade teacher, Wendy Genzel, is happy to have the Upper School kids in her class. “The younger kids look up to the Upper Schoolers,” Mrs. Genzel said. “When they walk through the halls and they see them outside, standing so tall and proud, they want to be like them. This is really good for them. They’ve said to me, ‘look at them! Are we standing tall just like them?’”
The card design was an idea taken from several sources. “I got the two connected hearts online, then my mom helped me come up with doing a larger card with an accordion pop out of the two hearts,” Angela said. “We brought coloring pages too, so we could color with the kids once they were done.”
Angela’s mom, Lower School STEM teacher Shannon LoRusso, helped her get volunteers as well. “Sometimes it’s hard for Upper School students to get out of their classes, especially if they’re in really tough ones where they have to worry about their grades, but the ones who can do an awesome job,” Angela said. “My mom got her 6th grade class to help too.”
“I think it’s good for both ages. I’ve heard the older ones say ‘I wish I was six again!’” Mrs. Genzel said with a laugh. “I think they realize that they have more of an impact on these kids than they think when they actually work with them.”
The event isn’t just emotionally rewarding for Upper School; it helps with their community service hours as well. “I gave a list of who helped to Miss Beverly, and she gives Upper School volunteer hours for it,” Angela said.
“I’ve suggested that maybe next year the students can make their Valentines for the patients at the Bay Pines Veteran’s Hospital, and turn it into Valentines for Vets,” said Mrs. Genzel. “Working one-on-one with the older kids and supporting the local community would be a great way to take this one step further.”