The mission of Grandview Heights Schools is to maximize and personalize every student's learning.
Project-based service learning puts our mission into motion by providing our students the opportunity to serve others with creativity, collaboration and enthusiasm, especially during the holiday season.
Stevenson Elementary School students recently teamed up with the After-School All-Stars Program at Columbus City Schools' Cassady Elementary School to create 88 holiday-break packages for students. The packages were filled with canned vegetables, pasta meals and snacks as well as books, mittens, gloves, hats and craft supplies.
At Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School, sixth- and seventh-grade students worked collaboratively to compose creative and colorful letters of gratitude and encouragement to active soldiers and veterans. The Tri-Village Lions Club then collected the letters for holiday delivery.
The school's Builders Club, student council and other students helped collect, package and ship 280 pounds of candy and more than 50 thank-you letters to Operation Gratitude. The organization sends care packages to active and wounded military members, veterans and first responders. The Rotary Club covered the shipping costs.
Students also conducted a food drive of nonperishable items for Heart to Heart Food Pantry, and Edison/Larson staff adopted two local families in need this holiday season.
In addition, students in Stacy Sauer's class organized a project to provide 22 Thanksgiving meals to the Columbus Cancer Clinic, which serves low-income individuals living with active cancer, as well as their families. Students decorated bags and filled them with a turkey, green beans, crispy fried onions, cream of mushroom soup, yams, gravy and cranberry sauce for delivery on Thanksgiving Day.
At Grandview Heights High School, Key Club members partnered with Boulevard Presbyterian Church for a food drive. Bobcat Beverages, the student-run coffee shop, partnered with Upper Arlington Schools' Wickliffe Elementary School to support a holiday gift drive for Heart to Heart clients by collecting wish-list items, and student Bryan Gilleland conducted a toy drive to benefit Directions for Youth and the Ohio Avenue Youth Center.
Each month, the high school staff makes a donation to a specific cause. Staff members nominate a charity that has impacted their lives. Organizations such as the American Heart Association, ALS Research, the Columbus Humane Society, the Ronald McDonald House and Christopher's Promise have received support.
While the holidays provide us with an opportunity to highlight service- and project-based learning in our schools, our students and staff contribute to others, locally and globally, all year round.
Our students are gaining valuable skills such as empathy and civic responsibility -- important attributes that will help them become caring and engaged adults.
On behalf of Grandview Heights Schools, have a safe and joyous holiday!
Andy Culp is superintendent of Grandview Heights Schools.