On Monday, December 5, 2022, the Grade 3 students, along with their teachers, Mrs. Jayne Parker and Mrs. Dania Paul, gathered in the Academy’s Lower School kitchen to bake cookies. Not to miss out on an educational opportunity, the teachers had the students measure the ingredients, take turns, and crack eggs, all while discussing fractions and cooperation. Following the cookie-making, the students designed and decorated thoughtful cards showing their appreciation. But the highlight of the experience was the delivery.
“Frankly, we had a ball,” said Mrs. Parker. “The children had an incredible time making the cookies and cards for our local police and fire departments. Before leaving to deliver the cookies, we gathered as a class to talk about how our acts of kindness make others feel appreciated.”
Students and teachers set off on foot at 9 am on Wednesday, December 7, to the Edgeworth Borough Police Station, carrying their cards and a tray of homemade cookies, caroling along the way. At the station, they were somewhat disappointed that most of the officers were out on duty, but were happy to be greeted by none other than Chief John Burlett.
“It’s so gratifying to see young students appreciate first responders and to make hand-written notes in their cards. That means a lot to every police officer in Edgeworth, “said Chief Burlett. “I will be passing the cards around to the officers to read so they can see how appreciated they are in the Sewickley Academy community. And the cookies were great also.”
As the students headed back to school, Chief Burlett joined them in a rendition of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
The students’ second delivery took place on the afternoon of Friday, December 9, as they walked to the Sewickley Borough Police and Fire departments. Their trip included a chance to check out the fire trucks.
“The visit from the kids was greatly appreciated, said Police Chief David Mazza. “There's nothing better than cookies and smiles – and the cookies didn't stand a chance.”
The Grade 3 service project is part of a school-wide effort to increase meaningful engagement and expand understanding and appreciation of service to others. In prior years, Sewickley Academy students have participated in an annual Day of Service each spring. This year, coordinated by Manager of Special Projects Mike Cesario and Interim Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Derek Chimner, teachers and students in grades 1 - 8 are selecting projects that are age appropriate and tie with their curriculum, while older students are committing to a set number of service hours.
“The expectation is for students to have greater involvement in the coordination and execution of their selected projects,” said Mr. Cesario. “Because the classes spend an extended amount of time, anywhere from two to four weeks, on their projects, they are much more invested in them and seem to be more likely to continue the service independently once the class project is complete.”
“Service to others has long been a tradition at the Academy, “said Mr. Chimner, a 2004 graduate. “I continue to be impressed year after year with the awareness our students show for the needs of those in their greater community and beyond, as well as their generosity in doing all that they can to help.”