South Washington County Schools

Bailey Elementary School students help school destroyed by California wildfires

Photo of students with banner

A third-grade class at Bailey Elementary School is learning through service with a project that will help students impacted by the wildfires in California last year.

The project started for students in Jen Friese’s third-grade class when they were given a $500 donation from Healing Hearts in December. Healing Hearts asked the class to give the money to others as part of a service-learning project about overcoming challenges. After researching people who are overcoming challenges, the class decided to create a project that would help students and staff at Paradise Elementary School. The students and staff at Paradise Elementary have recently been challenged as their school was destroyed by a wildfire in northern California last year.

For the project, students in Ms. Friese’s class visited other classrooms at Bailey Elementary and shared the story of Paradise Elementary. The students then asked their peers to make cards and write letters of hope and encouragement for the students and teachers who attend Paradise Elementary.

After the individual classroom visits, Bailey fourth and fifth-grade students spoke at an all-school assembly. They shared challenges they have overcome and how they wanted to help others overcome their challenges. At the end of the assembly, the students collected the cards and letters for Paradise Elementary.

Students sent the cards, letters and a $500 gift card to the temporary school for Paradise Elementary students. In addition, the Bailey Elementary students sent a banner for the temporary school that reads, “what defines us is our character, not our struggles. We will rise up after getting knocked down. That is who we are!” This quote was used after the service learning team noticed it written in a welcome back letter written to families, staff and students at Paradise Elementary from their principal, Debbi Davis.