Middle schoolers A.C.E. this test

Lindsay Lovato
Special to CCN
Posted 5/23/11

Five seventh-grade students from Powell Middle worked together this past academic year to build strong friendships and a sense of community at their …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Middle schoolers A.C.E. this test


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 money.

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 equipment, etc.

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 sports equipment.

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 be.”

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 together.

“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.”


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.