Archive for May 13th, 2014

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.


This past Saturday was the culmination of a year long student project. We began working with the group of 6th grade gifted students in August. Each month we met together as a group, 6 teachers and 23 students. In the beginning we immersed the students in the theme we had selected for this year, bridges. We brought in speakers including the chief engineer for a bridge being rebuilt in New Iberia. The bridge had been out for more than two years, and some of our students were well aware of the inconvenience this caused. Barbara Ostuno, chief engineer, piqued their interest in the construction of a real bridge. As discussions over a service project were held, the students brought up the bridge and how we could celebrate its completion. Thus we began to plan a bridge opening ceremony.

In January, Mayor Hilda Curry came to visit our group. She spoke to them about the ins and outs of planning a community event. She explained how the original bridge was built by her grandfather when he was mayor. The new bridge will also be named for him, Joe Daigre. She then invited them to meet with the department heads to talk about their ideas. We planned a field trip for February.

On this trip, we started the day bridging the generation gap by meeting elderly in an assisted living facility. The students played games with them and interviewed them for a later writing project. They wrote essays about their grandfriend and submitted them to the Legacy Project contest.

In the afternoon, we met with the Chamber of Commerce about a ribbon cutting for the bridge opening and with the city department heads. This was incredibly empowering to our students. They gained confidence in knowing their voices were being heard and were important to others. They were having real world experience being community organizers.

Raising Cane's manager and employees joined the celebration.

Raising Cane’s manager and employees joined the celebration.

As a group, the students decided to raise funds for playground equipment for a local park. They went out looking for sponsors for the t-shirts. They gathered 30 donations of $50-$250 each.

The students presented their plan to the City Council at a regular meeting in March. We even brought some council members to tears as they were touched by the students’ poise and enthusiasm. A few students and teachers represented our project to the school board and received a donation from the superintendent.

All of this work culminated in our event on Saturday. Wearing our student-designed t-shirts, we met at City Hall to walk down Main Street to the new bridge. The bridge is named for our mayor’s grandfather, so it was fitting that she cut the ribbon.

students at the bridge

Students spoke and led the ceremony. At last count, the donations and t-shirt profits were close to exceeding $3000. I feel pretty confident that this real world experience will stay with these students for a long time. They will drive over the Joe Daigre Bridge as parents and tell their children about the grand opening celebration that they helped to organize.

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