2012-03-01 / Education

Semester at West Middle packed with service learning


National Junior Honor Society students Kate Schwartz, left, Shannon Putnam, Jenna Dixon, Taylor Gibson, Matt Wild and Dominic Cascio paint ornaments to benefit Cradle Beach in Angola as part of their service learning. National Junior Honor Society students Kate Schwartz, left, Shannon Putnam, Jenna Dixon, Taylor Gibson, Matt Wild and Dominic Cascio paint ornaments to benefit Cradle Beach in Angola as part of their service learning. West Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society has had an action-packed semester of service learning this year, from making ornaments to a surprise breakfast for their teachers.

The junior society kicked off service activities in August by volunteering at “Stepping Up to West,” a seventh-grade orientation. Members of NJHS helped by hosting tours, activities and workshops all geared toward providing a smooth transition for the incoming students.

This fall, NJHS provided babysitting services for families who attended West Middle’s annual Study Skills Night in October. Katie Kubiak, NJHS advisor and school counselor, said the volunteers were very excited to bring movies and books from home, help the little ones with a craft and entertain them for a few hours while parents learned valuable information on studying and homework.

Activities continued in November when NJHS helpers secretly set up the faculty room with goodies they brought in from home. The students came in early to transform the faculty room into a buffet of breakfast treats and juices to express their gratitude for the faculty and staff at West Middle.

During the holiday season, NJHS members volunteered their time to paint ornaments that were sold at the Galleria Mall to benefit Cradle Beach. The sale was a success, said Kubiak, and the Cradle Beach staff was impressed with the students’ artistic talents.

In December, honor society members arrived at school early on a Saturday to bake and decorate cookies and dip chocolates that would later be donated to needy families on Christmas Eve. The members created more than 700 cookies.

The new year was kicked off by NJHS hosting Bedtime Story Hour in January. Approximately 30 families from West district elementary schools attended the event where they enjoyed listening to stories, creating crafts for their bedroom and eating healthy snacks. NJHS members developed the story hour because they wanted to work with younger children to promote literacy and good bedtime habits.

Later that month, students stayed after school to set up and staff the bake sale tables at the Coaches for Cancer basketball game. The event raised $1,318 for the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research.

More NJHS events have been planned at West Middle for this spring.

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