Dr. Gereboff's Head Notes
Mitzvot Gone Viral 2016
Every year there is a strain of a virus that spreads organically through our school. It always seems to grow exponentially in these last few weeks of school. This virus happens to be a good one. It’s the Mitzvah (acts of caring) Virus!
My week began with a fifth grade girl who had launched a mitzvah project two weeks ago to raise awareness about kindness. Her project introduced the school to Orly Whaba a TED Talk speaker, who has created a nonprofit organization to spread kindness. The fifth grader had set a goal of raising $100 for this organization. She reported on Monday that she has already exceeded that goal, so she has reset her goal to $500.
The Mitzvah Virus spread like crazy on Tuesday! First, one of our teachers suggested that we place a plaque next to the mulberry tree that a group of our current fifth graders planted when they were in first grade. The story of the mulberry tree that was planted to provide food for the second grade silkworms has become the paradigmatic story of our students’ initiative and involvement in these sorts of projects.
That afternoon, I had two sets of visitors during lunch. The first was a group of second grade girls who want to work on a project for Ronald McDonald House. They had started with the idea that they would sell rainbow bracelets to raise funds for this organization. After they did some research and some mathematics calculations with me, they realized that they would need to make a lot of bracelets to raise what they wanted. Together we looked at the Ronald McDonald website and noticed that they are asking for new infant toys. They decided that their project (which they will announce in two weeks) is to bring infant toys for Ronald McDonald House. Everyone who donates a toy will get one of their rainbow bracelets.
The second set of visitors on Tuesday afternoon were two third grade boys who wanted to sell some of their baseball cards to raise funds for the “PCA”. After we talked for a few minutes, I realized they meant the “SPCA”. We had a conversation about trying to do things without asking kids to bring in money. They are now checking out what the SPCA might want – leashes, dog food, etc. They left my office with the parting comment, “Maybe we’ll give our baseball cards to the people who bring in the things for the SPCA”.
Twice in an hour, two different sets of students had spontaneously figured out this idea of thanking donors. These children have learned so much more in this process – research, discovery, passion, marketing, care for community, public speaking, just to name a few.
This virus is spreading organically – above and beyond the seventh grade tzedakah program. All are examples of a what a Wornick education is all about – an innovative (can-do) attitude, a heart that cares and understands obligations to improve the world, the power of project-based learning that integrates different disciplines and a strong community spirit. The passion and caring that our students and staff demonstrated this week is positively infectious!
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