Students go above class project to help arw

‘They took it one step further, above and beyond’

JERSEY SHORE — Because three eighth grade students at Jersey Shore Area Junior High School went above and beyond their English language arts assignment, the American Rescue Workers at Williamsport reaped the benefits of the students’ efforts at raising money for the non-profit.

It all began with a project-based learning assignment given to the students’ class by their teacher, Karen Fausnaught.

“Basically I give them a driving question that they have to answer. The question was ‘who are your hometown heroes and how can we tell their story?’,” said Fausnaught.

The teacher told how the students, Ariah Butler, Breanna Porter and Emma Kauffman got together as one of the teams in the class. The class was tasked with using inquiry, innovation and 21st century skills to develop their projects.

The three girls read a story about Lane Ellis, a former resident of the American Rescue Workers’ shelters.

“They were really moved by his story of homelessness and how he overcame alcoholism. They wanted to do something to help,” Fausnaught said.

“Whenever we read it (Ellis’ story), it really motivated us about how much it (the Rescue Workers) helped people. We had always heard about it, but we never really knew exactly what they did until we saw how he had improved his life,” said Porter.

Fausnaught noted that students typically would put together a presentation such as an I-movie or a power point.

“These girls went one step further and on their own time got donations from local businesses,” she said.

The donations included gift cards which the girls used as prizes for a half-court shooting contest which they organized.

“Kids could come in at the beginning of the school day and pay a dollar, which would go to the American Rescue Workers and they could try a half-court shot in front of their peers. The kids loved it,” she added.

If the kids made the shot then they received one of the donated gift cards as a prize.

The girls also made a video about the Rescue Workers and showcased it to the entire school during the school’s Friday Bulldog period, which inspired students at the school to participate in the contest.

“This was above and beyond the actual project, “ Fausnaught said. “Project-based learning is supposed to be about creativity, cooperation and collaboration among their peers. They took it one step further, above and beyond.”

“We were looking at the (newspaper) article and we figured out how much this could help this place,” Butler said.

The girls, who are in the school’s Future Business Leaders’ club, also gained inspiration from the high school FBLA group which recently helped the Love Center food pantry in Jersey Shore.

The money the girls donated to the Rescue Workers will be used toward updating the heating system at the group’s Saving Grace Shelter, which is estimated to cost $40,000.

“You have given us almost $1,000 toward it,” Kendra Parke, marketing and community engagement co-ordinator for the Rescue Workers told the girls.