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U of Akron Service Learning with Local Elementary

UPublish story by Amy Hecky

UA Spanish students and Spring Garden eighth grade students pose in front of their collaborative Day of The Dead alter on display at SGWS.

The 2012/2013 school year at Spring Garden Waldorf was a great success and many thanks go to the University of Akron’s Service Learning Program. The program sends college students out to work in local schools with younger students on innovative service projects. This school year, the University of Akron worked on five different projects with the community at Spring Garden Waldorf School of Copley, Ohio.

The year of collaboration began when five students from an UA English Composition II course decided to work with SGWS to beautify our facility. The goal being to help the outside of the building reflects what goes on inside the building. The UA students gave a presentation at the end of the semester for a chance to win a $500 grant for the project, and while SGWS did not win, a member in the audience who heard the presentation became a donor to the school.

Our next project was the creation of the beautiful Day of the Dead alter displayed at our school store this last fall. The altar was built by UA Spanish students and Spring Garden eighth grade students, in celebration of one of Mexico’s most renowned traditional celebrations. According to UA, “This service-learning project provided UA learners an opportunity to engage in meaningful research, collaborate with local Spanish students, and have first-hand experience with a Mexican tradition.”

This spring, advanced Spanish Composition students collaborated with the 7th graders for a reenactment of the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha. The UA composition students served as playwrights and wrote the script for the young kids to perform as well as worked along side the students to paint scenery and create props for the performance in April.

UA students came to work outdoors on two occasions as well. Twelve UofA athletes came out for part of their Pay it Forward program. They helped remove hazard trees, moved gravel to create a pathway, painted a classroom, painted an exterior door and re-ribboned our Maypoles. A different group of U of A students came out in May to help SGWS fourth graders prepare their garden for spring planting. They brought, as all the U of A students do, a solid work ethic, a great sense of humor and an openness to complete the task at hand with energy and positivity.

Students in the UA Service Learning projects always set a wonderful example for our students.

Thank You University of Akron!

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