Although they may be small, when compared to the size of an adult, the 320 students at Horace Mann Elementary have proven there is nothing small about their ability and willingness to help others.
During the fall, the students have been working diligently on educational studies but the students and staff know that not every lesson can be found in a textbook.
“We use the word ‘family’ a lot here,” Principal Dr. Todd Fraley said. “It’s the people in this building and their love for children that helps inspire all of our students to exceed in whatever they set their minds to.
“I really think we have an ideal size school,” Fraley added. “And because of that we work on the development of relationships with our students.”
That work has paid off to the benefit of several community organizations.
Students at the school have taken part in several service learning projects including an October food drive that benefited the Central Missouri Food Bank. During the week-long collection period Oct. 19-23, the students collected more than 1,500 cans of food.
They used the math skills and art concepts to construct a “Despicable Me” minion using 584 of the cans.
For their next project, the students spent a month collecting aluminum cans. In early December the students had collected slightly more than 10,000 cans.
In one week they doubled that figure, collecting an additional 15,785 cans.
As a reward for their efforts, the students eagerly watched as Fraley was duct-taped to the wall during an all-school assembly the day before the students started their holiday break.
Students from Bonnie Wolfe’s fourth grade class had the honor of taping Fraley to the wall because they collected the most cans during the drive.
“I think our students need to work a little on their duct-taping skills,” Fraley said with a laugh shortly after the assembly. “I was only on the wall for a little while before the tape didn’t hold and I hit the ground.”
The fall was for two good causes, so Fraley did not seem to mind.
“The money from the cans will be given to the Salvation Army,” Fraley said. “The students also pulled off the tabs from the cans and donated those to the Ronald McDonald House at Children’s Mercy (Hospital in Kansas City).”
Second grade students spent time creating crafts and food items that they in turn sell to students throughout the school at their Santa’s Workshop.
Amy Carbone-Scott’s students make all of the items that were for sale. The proceeds were donated to Operation Gratitude, which helps active military members and veterans.
It helps the students have a way to buy inexpensive gifts for their friends and family.
Fraley referred back to one of his first comments about the success of the school.
“I can’t thank the parents and the students and staff here at this school enough,” Fraley said. “They are amazing and we are a family here; I truly believe that.
“They will come to me with an idea and all they need from me is the approval to do it,” Fraley added. “They all work together to help one another and they get things done in an amazing way to help others.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484