Five seventh-grade students from Powell Middle worked together this past academic year to build strong friendships and a sense of community at their …
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Five seventh-grade students from Powell Middle worked together
this past academic year to build strong friendships and a sense of
community at their school.
Members of Powell’s Destination ImagiNation Project Outreach
team have learned the prize of qualifying for Global Finals isn’t
as important as the learning and experiences they have gained
throughout their challenge.
Kimiko Ching, Brie Cody, Laura Fitzgerald, Lucy Lutz and Olivia
France designed an after-school program called Project A.C.E.
(Activities Connecting Everyone) to address the need to build a
united student body. The program focuses on bringing special
education, Learning Support Services and general education students
together through after-school activities.
“We were discussing our options for a project and a lot of us
were saying how we’d really like to help the special-needs students
at our school,” Lutz said. “We noticed they were being bullied and
talked about behind their backs and pretty much ignored so we
thought ‘what can we do to help others see that they’re just kids
like us.’ ”
The girls are already making plans to improve and expand the
program for next year. They plan to open the program up to everyone
at the Littleton school who wants to participate and raise more
They also hope to reach other schools and get them to
incorporate the same after-school program.
The girls used their experiences to build the program into a fun
and welcoming environment for all students. They were careful to
find general-ed students who were kind, patient and willing to help
the LSS students.
Since this is the first year of the program, the girls asked
other students they knew were nice and community-minded to be
connecters — the general-ed students were called connecters because
they wanted them to connect throughout the school.
They also went to teachers and asked them which kids they
thought were good students. Then they sent out invitations for them
to join. All LSS students were included in the program.
Once they had a solid group formed, the girls started planning
activities for the program. They focused on building activities
everyone would enjoy. There was one devoted to music, one for
sports and the other for art. The girls set up games like musical
x’s — because there wasn’t enough room for chairs — conga lines,
the Hokey Pokey, obstacle courses, soccer and basketball. They also
had art projects like painting bird houses and a poster with all of
the LSS students’ names and drawings.
“I remember specifically there was one LSS student that really
liked certain colors,” Fitzgerald said. “So we got him his specific
colors. It was really sweet.”
For the girls, the hardest challenge they had to face was
raising funds to help pay for the expenses associated with running
the after-school program, including money for art supplies, sports
The girls had many great fundraising ideas like a fashion show
and selling stuff outside local businesses and the school but,
unfortunately, they would all fall apart. In the end, the girls had
assistant principal Linda Arnold write a letter about their project
and what they needed for it.
They took the letter to local stores and received gift cards so
they could buy the materials needed. Generous staff members at
Powell also helped the girls by lending them art supplies and
Through hard work and a few challenges, they managed to make the
program a success. Many students and teachers have noticed
improvement in communication and interaction among the students in
the hallways and classrooms.
“I think one of the biggest changes is that there is an
increased social opportunity,” said Kimberly Pendleton, a LSS
teacher at Powell. “I think there is a sense of community in the
hallways and not so much separation. The students are all
connecting with each other no matter how different they may
All of the LSS students loved the program and having the ability
to just hang out with other middle school students.
“One thing that I noticed is that when we would do an activity
if they really liked it you would see their face would lighten up
with how much they liked it,” said Ching. “That really made me
happy to see that.”
Project A.C.E has taught the girls about bringing people
“I found that a lot of the special-needs kids are really kind
and sweet,” France said. “I think that if people would just get to
know them more they’d like them and not exclude them.”
The girls feel like the project has helped others learn how to
be nice to all kids.
“I feel like we made a difference,” Cody said. “It helped
everyone who participated in the club.”
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