11 Inspiring (and Inspired) Ways Students Across America Were Welcomed Back To Class This Year
11 Inspiring (and Inspired) Ways Students Across America Were Welcomed Back to Class This Year
This article is part of a series on that highlights the champions, triumphs, success stories, and acts of kindness found in schools all over America. Explore more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
The start of the school year is an exhilarating new beginning, filled with both excitement and anxiety. It combines the thrill of reuniting with old friends and receiving new class assignments with the stress of meeting new classmates, teachers, and financial burdens.
Fortunately, communities across the nation are coming together to ensure a smooth transition from summer to school for their children. We have already seen the story of the Nashville pastor who slept on a roof to gather backpacks for a local school. Now, we present 11 more heartwarming accounts of how schools, families, and compassionate strangers are helping teachers and students prepare for another academic year:
Texas: A teacher from Ector Middle School throws a block party to welcome the new school year. Ethel McDaniel, the teacher, noticed that some students in Odessa did not have the chance to go on vacations or attend summer camps. To provide them with a bit of end-of-summer fun, she organized a block party complete with grilled food, water slides, and music.
Albany Middle School teacher meets her new students in style. Traditionally, teachers at Albany Middle School meet their new students on the first day of school. However, seventh-grade teacher Sarah Halloway decided to surprise her students a few days early by showing up at their homes in a limousine.
Colorado: A girl becomes the 17th person in her family to wear an heirloom dress on the first day of kindergarten. Back in 1950, Ally Hirt’s great-grandmother wore a homemade yellow dress on her first day of kindergarten. Since then, this dress has been passed down through the family and worn by 17 women, including Hirt’s mother, grandmother, aunts, and cousins.
Utah: The largest homeless shelter for families in the state provides clothes and backpacks for 100 kids and parents. The annual Apple Tree program, now in its 12th year, is a four-week collection drive for families living at the Road Home shelter in Midvale. Thanks to the generous donations, the shelter was able to provide each of the 150 children with a backpack filled with clothing and shoes.
Illinois: A "braid-a-thon" gives 100 girls back-to-school hairstyles. Twenty hairstylists and barbers volunteered for this event, organized by the Youth for Christ Parent Life Center in Kankakee. In addition to receiving new hairstyles, the girls also received books and school supplies, while their parents had the opportunity to purchase new and used school uniforms for just $1.
Missouri: Shoppers participate in "Stuff the Bus" and set a record for the number of school supplies collected. The St. Joseph United Way organized the collection drive at two local Walmarts, and they were able to collect an impressive 29,360 items. Over 300 volunteers worked in two-hour shifts to ensure the success of the drive.
These heartwarming acts of kindness and generosity demonstrate the power of communities coming together to support their children during the back-to-school season.
Texas: A compassionate individual helps a Texas teacher by paying for school supplies for underprivileged students. Sabrina Drude, a seventh-grade science teacher, faces the challenge of having students whose families cannot afford necessary school supplies. While shopping at a local Walmart, Drude and her husband encountered Lester Brown, who kindly offered to cover the cost of 200 notebooks, amounting to nearly $100. This act of generosity has made a significant impact on Drude’s ability to support her students.
Michigan: A clinic in Kalamazoo, Family Health Center, organizes a back-to-school bash that goes beyond providing necessary items. This event, which has been held for the third consecutive year, not only equips children with backpacks and hygiene kits but also ensures a fun-filled experience with bounce attractions and refreshments. By combining the practical and recreational aspects, the Family Health Center aims to create a memorable and enjoyable start to the academic year for these kids.
Illinois: A creative and dedicated elementary teacher in Chicago, Dwayne Reed, has produced a rap music video to warmly welcome his new students. As a first-time teacher, Reed composed the song to familiarize his incoming fourth-grade students with what they can expect in his classroom. Through his lyrics, Reed promises to greet his students with a smile and make their lessons both engaging and valuable. This innovative approach seeks to establish a positive and inclusive learning environment right from the start.
Connecticut: In Newtown, a yoga studio is assisting children in coping with back-to-school anxiety. Barbie Burton, the owner of Inner Child Yoga, developed a program called "Buddha Bootcamp for Kids" to teach mindfulness and meditation to children through games and relaxation techniques. By addressing the common jitters that arise as summer comes to a close, Burton’s program provides valuable tools for young students to manage their emotions and navigate the transition back to school.
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