In mid-October, 110 Syringa Mountain K-8 students put down their pencils and spent a day serving community organizations for an Eco-thon fundraiser. School Director Christi Thompson explained they aimed to raise funds for their Outdoor Education Program, which gives students outdoor experiences coordinated with their curriculum.
Parents and community members sponsored students to participate in the Eco-thon. Thompson explained that supporters of the event “not only enriched the educational experience but also contributed to the betterment and sustainability of our community.”
Donations totaled over $9,000.
For their service, younger grades helped pick up trash and debris at local parks. Older students partnered with community organizations, like the Hunger Coalition, Kiwanis club and the senior center. Thompson related that this included making handmade bowls for the 9th Annual Empty Bowls event, where community members purchase the bowls and eat together with proceeds going toward the hungry.
Syringa, a charter school located in Hailey, aspires to educate students through hands-on learning experiences. Because it is a public charter, not private school, Thompson emphasized that fundraising is “critical” to creating interactive experiences.
Thompson explained that students work hard on both community service, and academics. “We were in the top 10 of ISAT math scores for charter schools, as well as for IRI scores. So, we are doing that while [also] trying to educate the whole child with these community service projects.”
Thompson articulated how much the students enjoyed the event. “The kids were just so proud of themselves at the end, how much service they had done and garbage they had picked up…it also helped them realize what they need to do to take care of the environment.”
Here is a full list of the students’ service:
Kindergarten- Clean up Bellevue Memorial Park
1st Grade- Pick up trash and debris in Draper Preserve
2nd Grade- Pick up trash and debris in Howard Preserve
3rd Grade- Lunch at the Senior Center; seed collecting, sorting, and packaging for the WR seed Library.
4th Grade- Sorting donations and cleaning up at The Attic- a local thrift shop which supports The Advocates who work to keep communities free from emotional and physical abuse.
5th/6th Grade- Hop Porter park repairs and winter prep with the Kiwanis Club.
7th/8th Grade- Making bowls for Bowls for the Hungry, clean up trash along trains in Ketchum.