The Rocket Flame

Helping Hands at JB

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Some kids in our District are not as fortunate as others and the Life Skills class at  James Buchanan had the opportunity to make a difference in their community by doing the Rocket Totes.

“There must be more families in the same situation,” said Mrs. Kristy Horst (Faculty). 

Working together, Lucas Carter (9) and Gregory Murray (12) stuff backpacks.

Rocket Totes are a derivative of the Tiger Totes program that originated at Saint Thomas Elementary School. Horst went to a PTA meeting and explained to the group how not only should they be doing the totes at Saint Thomas, but at each school because there are more families than we know that are in need of this program.

“It gives the families a sense of comfort knowing they have food for the weekend without stressing,” said Horst.

The process is simple yet helpful.  Pre-ordered backpacks arrive at the high school then each backpack receives a color-coded tag to represent one of the four elementary schools in the District. Each Friday the bags are then taken to the food bank where the life skills class fill the backpacks with food. Once the bags are filled, they drop them off to the designated school.

“It makes me feel happy giving back to the community because I like the community and I want to keep it safe for everyone,” said Justin Mellott (10).

Keeping the community safe is one of the priorities Mellott takes into consideration as he lends a helping hand to families in need. Knowing that he is making a difference in others’ lives makes Mellott feel accomplished knowing he is giving the less fortunate a sense of relief.

Cleaning up, Edward Leevy (11) picks up bags to organize food.

“I love packing the backpacks with food with my classmates,” said Dean Faust (9).

Besides giving back to the community, the class gets to bond with one another while packing the food to deliver. Sharing giggles and cracking jokes grows a bond between students while working together. 

At the end of the day, families are supported and the Life Skills class gets the chance to make a difference in people’s lives.

 

A Day in the Life of Life Skills: More Than Just A Class

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Edward Leevy (10) smiling for a picture while unloading boxes

   Throughout the school day, your routine probably consists of doing the same things, but have you ever thought about how some other classes spend their day?

  The Life Skills Class routine ranges to something different every day. A couple days a week, a group of kids will go to Mercersburg Academy and help clean up the dining hall. If it is a work day, the students leave after the announcements and help at their assigned area for a couple of hours.

  Then, two days a week, the students go to Target and help there, too. Their duties change daily Some days they will unload trucks that come in, and other days they stock up the shelves with the items that are delivered.

  “It helps them with things they will need in their everyday lives and in a job,” said Mrs. Kristy Horst (Faculty).

  The students not only learn what it is like to have a job and a set routine, but also how to interact with people. Working at Target and the Academy gives them that chance.

  After the students come back from their duties, they will go and have lunch together during 8th period. When lunch is over, they then go to Art.

   “I think the most important part is that they’re just able to come in and unwind and be creative and whoever they wanna be,” said Maggie Strawoet (12). 

 

Gregory Murray (11) works on his art project with his classmates Kaitlyn Miller (9) and Justin Mellott (9)

For most of them, it is their favorite period of the day. They do different art projects together and on Fridays, Mrs. Kayla Chambers-Matulevich (Faculty) plays songs they suggest.

  Lastly, the students finish their day by helping out in the school. During 10th period, several students go and empty all the recycling bins in the classrooms. They then take it outside to the larger recycling bin. This gives the students an opportunity to clean and help out all the teachers.

  Now even though every day differs, this is what a typical day looks for this class. Through spending time together, all of the students have formed friendships with not only each other but with their peers throughout the school and community, and they certainly are a light in the school.

 

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