To The Daily Sun,
Today my colleague, Joan Cormier and I attended a special Pleasant Street School Pride Week closing assembly. We went because we were told that we were going to be presented with a check to establish a scholarship with our organization under the name the Pleasant Street School Pride Award.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Mr. David Levesque, the principal of Pleasant Street School.
We were also introduced to representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Got Lunch program. Each of us was surprised to see all of the commotion going on as we entered the gym/cafeteria. The students were assembled and seated on the floor and after a few minutes, Mr. Levesque took the microphone and all was quiet. The principal proceed to tell everyone in attendance, students, teachers, staff, parents and grandparents about the reason for coming together. There was to be a talent show that afternoon to conclude the school's celebration of Pride Week, but before the talent show, there was to be a presentation ceremony.
One by one, each of the organizations mentioned above were introduced and a presentation was made. The first group was the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Mr. Levesque uncovered three or four very large draped containers. He told the SVdP president, Erika Johnson, that the students were asked to bring in toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and canned goods and they had brought in so much more than he had ever expected. Mrs. Johnson told the children a little about St. Vincent's mission in Laconia and thanked them for being so generous and giving to others.
Next, Mr. Levesque introduced two representatives from the Got Lunch program. Again, containers were undraped revealing more than 600 jars of peanut butter and jelly which the students had brought to school to give to the Got Lunch program. The students were told about the Got Lunch program and how there jars would be used to feed so kids in Laconia. They thanked the students on behalf of the program and the children of Laconia who would go hungry without their help.
Our turn came next and we were presented a check to establish as scholarship called the Pleasant Street School Pride Award. The award is to be given to a graduating LHS student who had attended Pleasant Street School. The check was very generous, and money raised came through a year-long penny drive.
That's dedication. We explained who we were to the students, explained a little about what scholarships where and what they could mean to them and thanked them for their gift.
So many things impressed us that afternoon. First, there was the leadership of the principal of the school spearheading a program to teach the students about their community and ways to give back to the community and help others. To me, this is something that needs to be taught, it does not come naturally.
Next, there was the dedication and enthusiasm of the teachers and the paraprofessionals of the school. We know that a great idea can be brought forth, but unless you have the guidance, encouragement and enthusiasm of the staff behind the vision, it will not work.
The parents and families of the students are also to be commended. What a wonderful response of food, and toiletries coming from so many homes. Homes where giving and serving are being taught and modeled.
Then there were the students — so engaged, so well behaved and so happy to be involved in this project. Looking into the faces of some of the kids, you could see that they were proud of themselves. I guess the "Pride Award" was an appropriate name for the scholarship they chose.
Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation
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