Manlius Pebble Hill fifth-graders are learning this year what it means to leave positive footprints in the world. The class is participating in a Rotary-sponsored program called EarlyAct, specifically geared toward elementary-aged children who want to become active community volunteers. The program is designed to teach virtues such as respect, empathy, tolerance, citizenship, compassion and leadership.
"We're very excited about EarlyAct," said Richard Jenkins, past president of the DeWitt Rotary Club. "Each of us wants to do something good for somebody else. EarlyAct helps you get together as a group and do more good than you could ever do individually."
To date, MPH is the first school to embody EarlyAct that DeWitt Rotary has sponsored.
The four committees
Teacher Sarah FrazziniKendrick heads the project with her fifth grade class, which they themed "Leaving Positive Footprints." As students prepared for the program, they were assigned to one of four committees: local, school, global or public relations. Eight children representing each group sat down with the Eagle Bulletin to discuss what they've been doing since EarlyAct launched in October:
The Local Committee is community project-oriented. Member Athena Czerwinski-Burckard described what her team does to benefit the greater part of Syracuse.
"We help the Salvation Army earn money and we also [work with] Habitat for Humanity," she said. "Right now, we're going to send holiday cards to Hospice and we're going to try to get help from the second, third and fourth grades to make cards."
The School Committee is specific to MPH and its students. Its most current project involves making posters that will hang in the dining hall to remind peers about a particular manner each week.
"Every week on Monday, we would like to go up and say the manner, and hope for kids to do that," said committee member Maggie Carmen. "For example, this week's manner could be 'elbows off the table' or 'ask to get up' -- one of those."