Seventh and eighth grade students work on projects with town-wide benefits

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Students at Curtis Corner Middle School spent their last day of class learning an important lesson about giving back to the community. 

On Friday morning, Team Falcon, a group of seventh and eighth-graders, devoted their time toward several different projects that will be giving back to local organizations and groups of community members. 

Rather than being randomly assigned to a cause, students were able to learn about each community effort at a “town meeting” ahead of time and choose what station they’d like to help out with, Mathematics Teacher Kate Arruda explained. 

“It’s kind of like a mini assembly with our team and we tell them how it’s really important to be giving back to your community,” she said. 

Every student was encouraged to give back to a project they might have some passion for.

Even though Team Falcon is brand new this year, Arruda has been helping to organize these community efforts with her teams every year and stresses to her students how good it can feel to give back.

Each team at Curtis Corner is a made up of students that share the same core teacher in the fields of math, science, social studies and English language arts, Arruda explained, as well as two special education teachers. 

Of the five teams at Curtis Corner, Team Falcon is the only “split team” meaning they’re not exclusively composed of just seventh-graders or just eighth-graders. 

“They’re all working together,” Arruda said, “which is another great community piece of this project.”

One of the stations was devoted entirely to giving back to students at Stepping Stones Preschool, at which middle school students focused all their time and energy toward making bookmarks. Each hand-crafted bookmark was laminated and paired with two gift-wrapped books.

“Each kid in the 3-year-old and 4-year-old room will go home today with two books and a bookmark, made by the middle schoolers,” Arruda said. 

All of the books were donated by families either brand new or gently used. Families and teachers also donated all of the supplies needed for the group of students who made fleece blankets for the Welcome House, Arruda pointed out. 

The South Kingstown Police Department, the eight firehouses throughout town and the maternity ward at the hospital will all be receiving food baskets and cards put together by students. Students at these stations learned that they were helping to give back to members of the community who don’t always get to spend Christmas at home each year.

Finally, a fourth group of students poured their artistic talents into decorating sugar cookies for a holiday party at Scallop Shell. Arruda baked 70 cookies ahead of time, so each student at the decorating station was able to work on two or three. 

“This is fun for us as teachers too, because we can see talents that we don’t know they have,” Mary Beth Keating, a resource teacher said.

After all of the cookies dried and all of the activities were completed, Arruda and the other teachers from Team Falcon helped to drop off all of the gifts. 

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