Sometimes educators can make dreams come true without even knowing.
It’s true that teachers, principals and others are doing their jobs when they help youngsters with spelling and arithmetic. But without a lot of fanfare, they often go beyond their duties to make a child feel proud of himself — or just to fit in with other classmates. One such educator is Megan Mannion, principal of Akron Schools’ Seiberling Community Learning Center.
When Mannion learned of an adventure that partnered the school with United Airlines, she jumped at the chance. As a reward for good behavior and attendance, youngsters were treated to a field trip that led them on a 20-mile bicycle ride through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Each child was given the use of a bike and safety helmet. And it didn’t matter if they were seasoned bike riders or beginners; more than 60 excited children were invited to take part. However there was one little guy whose family had to decline.
Molly Becker explained to school staff that her son, Sam, who is autistic, wasn’t able to ride a bicycle. When Mannion heard that, she found a tandem bike that Sam and his dad, Warren, could ride.
“She even had another backup plan and found an adult tricycle in case the tandem bike didn’t work out,” Becker said. “She never pats herself on the back. Her Seiberling students and staff always come first.”
Becker wasn’t the only one who contacted me about Mannion. One of the half-dozen others was Sara Farmer, who has two children at the school. She praised Mannion for her commitment to the school and the community.
“She has become the heart of Seiberling. We are truly blessed to have her here,” Farmer added. “Words can’t express this amazing woman and all she has done and all she does.”
Sam has always dreamed of participating in an overnight sleep-in at the school. He asked his parents repeatedly about it. Last week, Mannion allowed Sam and about 40 of his classmates to spend the night inside Seiberling. The principal used the opportunity to talk with the sixth-grade children about their transition into middle school.
Garry Moneypenny, president of the Akron City Council, arrived at the school at 5 a.m. to make pancakes for the kids.
“I found Ms. Mannion bright-eyed and still very much excited with the event that kept her up all night. She stayed through the breakfast, helped with the cleanup and the dishes. Then waited around with students whose parents had not arrived yet to pick them up. Eventually, when everyone else was gone, Ms. Mannion gave the last child, whose parents had not showed up, a ride home,” Moneypenny said.
As for Sam, his night was complete.
“She literally made his dream come true,” said his mom. “Everyone else came along for the ride.”
Kudos to her and the hundreds of other area educators who have gone out of their way this year to touch a child’s life. Have a terrific summer.
To help residents whose homes were damaged by recent flooding, several Stow-Munroe Falls service organizations and the Stow-Munroe Falls School District have formed a committee, “Helping Our Neighbors.” Recent reports show that more than 285 homes were affected in the area.
Today, the Rotarians will chair a collection day. Volunteers from the high school and service organizations will spread out throughout the Stow area and go door-to-door accepting donations. They will be carrying buckets labeled with fliers that identify the collection effort.
On June 21, from 5 to 8 p.m., an ice cream social will be held on the grounds of Stow’s City Hall, 3760 Darrow Road. Donations, in exchange for an ice cream treat, will go toward the cause. The ice cream and related items are being provided by the Stow-Munroe Falls Community Foundation.
Donations to help those who experienced damage should be sent to the Stow-Munroe Falls Community Foundation in care of “Helping Our Neighbors” and mailed to P.O. Box 2244, Stow, 44224.
• Now this sounds like a fundraiser for typical items that are often missed.
The Leni Bug Foundation provides weekly backpacks filled with food for needy children in our community, and helps financially struggling families with sports registration and uniform fees. The foundation, established in memory of six-year-old Alena Alosi, is hosting a wine tasting fundraiser on June 30 at Sarah’s Vineyard in Cuyahoga Falls.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, which cost $50, visit https://lenibugfoundation.org or email email@example.com.