KCSD Students Spread Holiday Cheer

Every year, students, faculty, and staff in the Kennett Consolidated School District come together to give back and spread cheer in the community. The following is a round-up of community service projects held during this year’s holiday season:

Kennett High SchoolStudents standing in front of a truck

Kennett High School kicked off the season with its annual turkey drive, which ran from the beginning of November through November 21. Social studies teacher Mr. Shawn Duffy coordinated with his senior students to collect frozen turkeys and donate them to the Kennett Food Cupboard.

“It’s the students who do the work,” says Mr. Duffy. “The students spread word to fellow classmates by visiting classrooms, pass out promotional flyers, and creating announcements for KTV.”

The students also purchased the turkeys with the donated cash and collected, delivered, and unloaded the turkeys at the Food Cupboard. More than 100 turkeys were donated this year.

Kennett High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Club held a coat drive from December 4 through 8. Students and faculty were encouraged to donate a coat throughout the week and on the last day of the drive, all community members were welcomed to either drop off a coat or pick one up. Students assisted with collection and distribution, along with promoting the drive to fellow classmates. One hundred coats in total were collected, and extra coats were donated to La Comunidad Hispana in Kennett Square.

Kennett High School’s Unidad Club raised money and collected clothing, nonperishable food items, and school supplies that were shipped to churches in San Juan, Ponce, and Santa Isabel to aid the crisis in Puerto Rico. The money raised covered the postage for the items.

Kennett Middle School

Kennett Middle School gave back during the holiday season with an Adopt-A-Family drive. Students and staff pitched in to raise money, using peer-to-peer donations, and each grade level hosted an event for the drive.

Seventh grade students kicked things off with a talent show, dubbed Seventh Grade’s Got Talent, which was held on November 6. Students and teachers gave a donation to audition, and audience members gave a donation as the price of admission. The winner was Grace Baliss, who performed a Harry Styles song. The show raised $1,000.

The sixth grade hosted a “glow dance” in the cafeteria on December 1. Students donated to receive admission. Teachers sold refreshments, along with “glow gear” throughout the evening.

The eighth grade held two fundraising events. Right before Thanksgiving, they gave spare change to vote for a teacher to wear a turkey costume the day before break. This year’s “winner” was Ms. Kate McGill, a student teacher from West Chester University.

The second event was a student-versus-staff volleyball game. Students paid one dollar for the chance to be a member of the student team. Six male students and six female students won the chance to play on the student team.

The student council also wrote and donated greeting cards to the Kennett Area Senior Center.Students holding food donations

Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center

The Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center continued its tradition of giving food donations to the Ronald McDonald House. The drive was kicked off with a spirit assembly before Thanksgiving, led by school nurse Ms. Kelly Hostetler, who explained the Ronald McDonald House program to the students.

The goal for this year was 500 cans, but the school’s administrative assistant, Mrs. Jane Henry, said they always exceed their goal.

“The Ronald McDonald House always appreciates the donation, and it’s great that it’s children helping children,” says Mrs. Henry. “We want to show that we care deeply about helping the community.”

Bancroft Elementary School

Bancroft Elementary School students began their season of giving with a food drive held from the beginning of October through the beginning of November. The collected food was donated to the Kennett Food Cupboard. The food drive culminated in the school’s annual Walk for Hunger, where all students and staff walk outside.Students holding donations of pajamas

Bancroft Elementary School also held its fifth annual Pajama Drive. Students are asked to donate new pajamas, ranging in size from newborn to adult. The school has a goal of collecting 200 pairs of pajamas, which it usually surpasses. Mrs. Sara Simasek’s life-skills students assist with counting and sorting the pajamas.

The spirit of gratitude and giving was strong in the school, with one student saying, “You don’t have to worry about yourself all of the time. Instead you can help people who don’t have the things that we have.”

The drive concluded with a school-wide assembly where the donations were displayed so the students could see their result of their hard work.

New Garden Elementary School

New Garden Elementary School began its season of giving with a food drive that ran through the month of November. Students wrote their own announcements and read them every morning over the public address system to encourage their classmates to donate.

“We wanted the students to feel involved in the process,” says Principal Susan McArdle. New Garden Elementary school partnered with Kennett High School’s Humanitarian Club for this drive and the food was donated to the Kennett Food Cupboard.

Students also participated in a new tradition – a tree lighting at Toughkenamon. The fourth and fifth grade chorus caroled during the inaugural tree lighting on the evening of December 1.

“It’s a really great way to connect with the community,” says music teacher Mr. Ryan Battin.

The school also hosted a Giving Tree, where donated hats, mittens, and gloves were placed on a tree in a lobby; any student who needed an item could take it from the tree. There was also a jacket donation where parents could pick up a winter coat for their student during parent-teacher conferences.

New Garden Elementary School didn’t stop there. The school also hosted a Toys for Tots donation box throughout December.

Greenwood Elementary School

Greenwood Elementary School gave in many ways this year, including a toy drive benefiting Kennett Square Toys for Tots and a food drive benefiting the Chester County Food Bank.

To help get everyone in the spirit, parents helped decorate collection boxes with each homeroom. These collection boxes were placed in the hallway so students could see them, and a decorated display was placed in the school’s main lobby.

Ms. Lauren Leighton, community outreach chair of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), led the organizing efforts. “There’s always a huge response and the kids get very excited,” she comments.

The drive ran through December 15. The students celebrated reaching their donation goal with a pajama day at school and a screening of The Polar Express.

Read More

KHS Ceramics Sale Supports Program

Nearly fifty pieces, including beautiful wheel-thrown mugs, bowls, and vases as well as hand-built holiday pieces like Christmas trees and plates, will be available for purchase at this year’s Ceramics Sale at Kennett High School. All works were crafted by students in teacher Ms. Jodi Davidson’s ceramics classes, levels I through III. ceramic pieces

Eight years ago, Ms. Davidson and her students developed this creative way to add to their annual budget, with all proceeds from the sale helping to support the purchase of materials like clay and glaze for future projects.

Ms. Davidson noted, “The items available for sale are of the same hand-crafted quality you’d find at an expensive gallery, but we sell them for a fraction of the cost. The students have created some amazing work, and the money goes directly back into our program.” Last year’s sale raised approximately $500.

The sale will be held in the school’s lobby on December 19, 2017, and will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Prices range from $5 to $35.

Read More

A Spotlight on Mrs. Lisa Shoemaker

It’s said that the best teachers teach from the heart, a sentiment that captures the impact of Mrs. Lisa Shoemaker, a fourth-grade teacher at New Garden Elementary School. She has taught fourth grade for five years and began her career in the District as a first-grade teacher.

Mrs. Shoemaker has her undergraduate degree in elementary education from West Chester University, where she enjoyed working with kids . While pursuing her master’s degree in reading, writing, and literacy from the University of Pennsylvania, Mrs. Shoemaker was also teaching first grade full time in the Philadelphia School District, putting all of the theory she learned into practice.

When it comes to her work at New Garden, Mrs. Shoemaker performs many roles: “I’m a mom, I’m a nurse, I’m a guidance counselor, and a teacher. I always strive to get to know all my students and make time to talk to them,” she says. “I find they always work better when there is genuine understanding.”

Teaching comes with challenges, including the changing social dynamics of children. “A lot of social struggles begin in fourth grade, and I try to give them the tools to fix it themselves,” she says.

Mrs. Shoemaker also finds rewards in her work. She strives to make her students feel important and create a safe space for them every day. “My students are like my family.” She also enjoys mentoring student teachers. “There are a lot of little moments, where I see them implementing my practices, watching them learn, and learning from them as well.”

Mrs. Shoemaker loves teaching at New Garden and hopes to stay for the rest of her career. “You feel like family. My colleagues would do anything for each other. It’s a good community.”

Mrs. Shoemaker lives in Kennett Township and has two children at Kennett Consolidated High School, Sam, who is in ninth grade, and Isabel, in twelfth grade. She likes walking her dog, reading, taking care of her plants, and spending time with her children.

Read More