Photography by Emily Behan
Last December 2010, 21 2nd and 3rd grade students who won a homeroom competition and their teachers from Pleasant Plains Elementary came to Hereford Middle School for a remarkable winter holiday celebration. Twenty-three students from the Student Government Association (SGA) organized and attended the event, including 7th grader Nick Burton-Prateley, 6th grader Gio Steckel, and 8th grader Katie Dansicker.
The purpose of this occasion was to give under-privileged kids a reward for what they achieved, meaning they received tons of gifts such as toys, stuffed animals, and candy from purchased by the SGA members. The elementary school students were each randomly paired up with a middle-school kid for the day. Not only did the SGA students give them a lot of presents, they also set up fun holiday stations in the Hereford Middle School library. At one of the stations, the kids made snowflakes with their buddy by decorating foam cut-outs. “It was very nice seeing the kids all excited because you could tell they do not receive as many gifts at Christmas as we do,” said Gio.
At the end of this day the SGA middle-school students gave out the gifts. Gio said that this was his favorite part of the day. Katie commented, “Just seeing how happy they were and knowing that we made a difference in their lives that day was definitely the biggest thing for me.” Nick described the expressions when the kids got the gifts as priceless. “Giving the gifts was the best part of the day,” agreed Nick. Katie remarked, “At the end of the day, I felt what it was like to be in other people’s shoes; and, seeing that they are not as privileged as I am made me feel a little sad.” All of the participants became so attached to each other that they did not want to leave at the end of the day. Nick Burton-Prateley stated, “I think the saddest part of the day was saying good bye.” Gio said that he and his partner just kept holding their hands as they walked out the door. The younger kids obviously did not want to leave.
Nick summarized the experience, “I think it is just something that everyone can do. It is just trying to help some people. It does not make you a hero; it just makes you a good person.”
As everybody learned that day, doing something good does not make you a hero; it just shows the love inside yourself. However, a few simple good deeds can help your whole society and make you feel like a hero.
Madison Coll, Hereford Middle School 8th grader, intends to continue writing as a journalist or zoologist.
Photo by Emily Behan, Hereford Middle School 8th grader, who hopes to continue gaining skill as a photographer.