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Club keeps Howard students in high spirits

Video: Howard Elementary students promote positivity with Spirit Club

Howard Elementary School students participate in Spirit Club, which promotes positive school and community initiatives.
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Howard Elementary School students participate in Spirit Club, which promotes positive school and community initiatives.

Spirit runs high at Howard Elementary School.

And it’s partially due to a group of students, and two staff members who run the school’s Spirit Club.

About six years ago, former Principal Marsha Sackash created the idea to help students find more school spirit while giving back to the community.

Organized by fifth-grade teacher Amber Buchanan and building assistant Melissa Robinson, and 22 students from second to fifth grades, the mission is to promote the positives.

“They come up with so many ideas to help the school and the community, and as young as they are, it’s really student-driven,” Buchanan said.

They come up with so many ideas to help the school and the community, and as young as they are, it’s really student-driven.

Amber Buchanan, fifth-grade teacher

Students decorate the school during holidays, participate in fundraisers, and promote schoolwide programs like the reading team, and an annual walk-a-thon held in memory of a former student who died of cancer.

Principal Skip Pighetti said the group meets twice a month from 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Buchanan said that during that time, they play games, eat snacks and participate in projects that include writing cards to veterans, and making valentines for people in local nursing homes, and more.

On Thursday, the students made cards for kids with cancer as part of a larger national campaign called “Cards for Comfort,” Buchanan said.

Some students said they think doing this will help boost the spirits of others.

“I just want to make sure they know we think of them during the holidays even when they’re really sick,” fourth-grader Hailey Houser said. “We’re always thinking of others and making cards for them, and I think they’ll like it.”

They also started a food drive at the beginning of the month to raise canned and boxed goods for Howard-area families in need.

“The goal was to raise 500 (items) that will be donated directly to people in our community to help with Thanksgiving,” Buchanan said.

But it first needed to be sorted and boxed.

Garret Roberts was in charge of putting all the boxed items together. Classmate Ember Herr said she was in charge of separating the canned goods. Anything donated that was made of glass was handled by Vincent Martin.

The fifth-graders, with help from other Spirit Club members, put the items separately in boxes.

“It’s all for organization purposes,” Garret said.

On Friday, the Howard Area Lions Club picked up the items from the school to distribute to eligible families in need.

“It’s so important to have community involvement that teaches them to be good citizens,” Buchanan said. “They like helping others, and know that their work doesn’t go unnoticed.”

All students who want to be in the club are required to complete an application and write an essay about why they want to be in the club, and include activity ideas.

Laura Ternent, 10, said she suggested going on field trips that give back, like visiting people in nursing homes or in hospitals.

Hailey said she suggested promoting school activities by making posters to hang in the hallways.

Laura, who’s been in Spirit Club since first grade, said that as a veteran of the program, she encourages new members not to be shy about bringing ideas to the advisers.

“We like to come up with a lot of positive things and need a lot of people to come up with those ideas,” she said. “I just like knowing that our work with Spirit Club can help make a difference to others.”

I just like knowing that our work with Spirit Club can help make a difference to others.

Laura Ternent, student

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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